The driver of a semi truck who was hit head-on while crossing the Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge said the driver who struck him locked eyes with him until their vehicles collided.
It was around 12:50 p.m. on Saturday, July 8 when Sukh Mattu of Langley was driving his blue Peterbilt truck hauling an empty trailer, south on Highway 9.
A black northbound Chrysler 300 veered into his lane. Then it was fully in his lane.
“He looked right at me, staring right at me the whole time,” Mattu said.
But then he believed the driver got scared because he started moving out of Mattu’s lane slightly, but it was too late.
The Chrysler smashed head-on into the driver’s side of the semi, then ricocheted off the sidewalk on the east side of the bridge. It then hit a blue Dodge van directly behind Mattu’s truck and then crashed into a black Audi that was behind the van.
“He never even attempted to brake,” he said.
Mattu figures the car was going about 80 to 90 kilometres an hour when it collided with his semi.
When the male driver of the Chrysler got out of the car, he was aggressive and swearing at the other drivers, Mattu recalled.
“He was on something. He wasn’t sober.”
He watched as the man went to the trunk of the Chrysler, pulled out a chainsaw and fled on foot towards Agassiz.
“He ended up throwing his chainsaw over the bridge,” Mattu said, adding that the man left his passenger, who was a hitchhiker, behind.
The four-vehicle collision happened at the north end of the bridge before they were over the Fraser River, so it’s likely the chainsaw landed in a farmer’s field.
RCMP are still looking for the suspect.
“He was not caught by police and is still outstanding,” said Cpl. Carmen Kiener with Upper Fraser Valley Regional Detachment RCMP.
RCMP describe him as a five-foot-10-inch tall Caucasian man with dark hair. Mattu figures the man was in his mid-30s.
“The suspected driver of the Chrysler is well-known to police. He is not the registered owner of the vehicle,” Kiener said.
The chainsaw was not recovered by RCMP, she added.
Miraculously, no one was seriously injured and no one was taken to hospital, Mattu said.
“Everyone seemed OK.”
Mattu said his hands and wrists hurt from the collision and that he was also recovering from being rear-ended by a dump truck about three weeks prior.
But, if it weren’t for his semi being hit first, he thinks the results of the collision would have been much worse.
“I’m reliving this thing the whole time,” he said, three days after the crash occurred.
The Audi and Chrysler were both totalled. Mattu’s semi had to be towed and is being repaired. The driver of the van was able to drive away.
The crash closed the Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge in both directions for two hours. The bridge was then open to single-lane, alternating traffic for an hour and a half. By about 4:20 p.m., three and a half hours after the crash happened, the bridge was open again to both southbound and northbound traffic.
Anyone who witnessed the crash and/or has dashcam footage and who has not yet spoken with police can contact Chilliwack RCMP at 604-792-4611 or call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) and quote RCMP file #23-27185.