Another tragic death has hit the City of Armstrong.
Two weeks after the murder of an 18-year-old teenager, the city is dealing with another loss, as Vernon RCMP have confirmed the victim of a fatal motor-vehicle accident on Westside Road near Vernon Monday morning is Ronda Zawada, 60, of Armstrong.
Rural RCMP officers were called to an accident at Head of the Lake Road and Westside Road shortly before 9:30 a.m. Monday involving two vehicles.
“Early indications are, the car Zawada was driving skidded sideways into the path of a second vehicle on the road and the two collided in what is described as a T-bone crash on the driver’s side,” said RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk.
Jana Spotted Eagle, who lives on the corner of Head of the Lake Road, heard the accident.
“My neighbour was fumbling around out front with his garbage, I was outside and I heard a big bang,” said Spotted Eagle. “The cars were facing each other. My sister was with me and we ran to the vehicles right away to see who was hurt and how many people were in the accident.”
Spotted Eagle said there was glass all over the road, along with a lot of groceries from one of the cars.
Zawada, a cook at Snc’c’amala?tn Day Care and School on Westside Road, was in a 1970 Chrysler while the second driver, also a woman, from Westside Road, was in her 2001 Nissan in the ditch stating that her leg was hurting.
Both women were the lone occupants of their respective vehicles.
“I told them not to move, that the ambulance was on its way,” said Spotted Eagle, choking back tears. “A guy was holding the one lady’s hand, the one who didn’t make it. I was telling her the ambulance was on its way. She was trying to talk. I don’t know what she was saying.”
The driver of the Nissan was taken to Vernon Jubilee Hospital with a severe leg injury.
Traffic was backed up in both directions, and Westside Road was closed for nearly three hours.
The investigation into the accident, said Molendyk, is likely to take some time.
Zawada worked off and on for 14 years at Snc’c’amala?tn.
“We’re all grieving,” said Lorraine Ladan, Snc’c’amala?tn manager Tuesday morning. “We’re all really sad, and she will really be missed.”
Zawada is the fifth Armstrong resident to die tragically since Sept. 22.