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UPDATE: Highway 1 re-opens after 36 hours due to fatal semi-truck collision near Golden

Closure still ongoing; estimated time of reopening is now today at 7 p.m.
Photo from the scene of the collision on Aug. 28. (Facebook photo)

Highway 1 has reopened in both directions after a fatal collision left three people dead in a semi-truck collision east of Golden Sunday morning, leaving the highway closed for 36 hours.

The incident involved two semi-trucks that apparently collided head-on, according to RCMP, one of which was carrying cattle. Eye witnesses say that at least one of the semis was on fire.

The fire was extinguished sometime on Aug. 28.

RCMP have confirmed that three have died, after originally only confirming two. RCMP say that they were originally only able to locate two bodies, although three fatalities were suspected.

RCMP will need DNA tests to confirm identities.

Tanner Liefting, 25, of Chilliwack has been identified as one of the deceased through friends on Facebook.

Brandon Richard Johnson aged 30, of Chilliwack B.C. and Jagsir Singh Gill, 31, from Punjab, were named as the other two deceased by Skilled Truckers Canada.

Thousands have already been raised through GoFundMe to help support the families of Liefting and Gill, with $57,175 raised in 17 hours for Liefting. Gill’s fundraiser sits at $40 out of a goal of $20,000.

“Tanner Was a loving Husband and father, a talented and hard working individual who had a passion for truck his entire life and was very well known in the Trucking community,” reads Liefting’s page.

“Tanner was taken from this world far too soon leaving behind his family.”

“We want Jagsir’s family to see their son one last time,” read’s Gill’s page.

According to the GoFundMe, Gill was transporting a large quantity of highly flammable liquid.

Liefting was driving prized cattle from a show, some of which were 4h projects. All but one of the cattle perished, according to RCMP.

“The Interior Provincial Exhibition would like to extend heartfelt sympathies to the 4H youth who lost their animals and to the families of the drivers who tragically lost their lives in a motor vehicle accident on Aug. 28,” said IPE general manager Heather King. “This is a loss that affects not only our fair, but our community. And the 4H program. The kids raised these animals from newborn calves to yearlings. Eighteen of the animals in the crash were to be part of the show at the IPE this year.”

The 4H clubs involved were returning from the Western Canadian Classic (WCC) in Brandon that was held Aug. 23-27.

“Community is one of the four pillars of 4H fundamental beliefs and our local 4H community is hurting,” Spallumcheen Mayor Christine Fraser said. “Our thoughts are with these young members of our community at this time.

“On behalf of Township of Spallumcheen council I would like to express our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the truck drivers that lost their lives yesterday in the horrible accident on Highway 1 near Golden. Our thoughts and condolences are also with the entire Team BC Dairy 4H members who lost their calves, equipment, and luggage in this awful situation and all the dairy farmers that lost animals.”

An investigation is ongoing.

RCMP determined on arrival that the two occupants of the semi-trucks were deceased.

The highway originally closed at approximately 7:45 am Mountain Time, after reports of a vehicle incident at Beaverfoot Road at 6:50 a.m.

Detour is in effect along Highway 93 and 95 through Radium.

Anyone with information regarding this collision, including any dashboard camera video, is asked to contact the Golden-Field RCMP at 250-344-2221.

The BC Coroner Service has taken conduct of the investigation, with assistance from the Golden-Field RCMP and the Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Service.

~With files from Jennifer Smith

Claire Palmer
Editor for the Golden Star
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