A man was airlifted to a hospital in Victoria after driving across Highway 19 and colliding with two cars Saturday afternoon, according to the Parksville Volunteer Fire Department.
Tyrone Heigh, Parksville assistant fire chief, said the department got the call at 3:54 p.m. The department had to extricate the man from the vehicle, said Heigh.
“It appears as though one vehicle was driving southbound — this is speculation at this point — caught into the ditch and over-corrected and shot across the highway,” Heigh said.
The truck, which was driving southbound, first hit a Dodge car and then the minivan.
Heigh said the drivers of the Dodge and the minivan were transported to hospital.
Heigh said the air ambulance was an auto launch which occurs when certain incidents warrant medevac. He said after the department extricated the driver from the truck and got him out and down to the spine board, the driver was then transported to the helicopter.
Traffic heading northbound was blocked until about 10 p.m. on Saturday with RCMP turning drivers around on the on-ramp to Highway 19 at the weigh station and back into Parksville. RCMP then stopped traffic and re-routed drivers heading northbound at Northwest Bay Logging Road.
Heigh said stopping traffic during accidents like this is just the “nature of the beast when you have one passage in and one passage out.” Heigh said before any of the re-routing happens, the first responders need to have everybody in place and everything needs to be “ultra-safe.”
Once the situation is stabilized and all the passengers are out, Heigh said, then the RCMP investigations begins.
“They (the RCMP) have to do the investigation regardless of people needing to be on their holidays,” Heigh said. “The investigation takes precedence.”
Highway 19 finally reopened around 10 p.m. following the multi-vehicle accident just north of the Highway 19A junction in Parksville.
Air Ambulance, B.C. Ambulance, Oceanside RCMP and the Errington Volunteer Fire Department and Parksville Volunteer Fire Department were on scene.