RCMP say the collision that closed the Trans-Canada Highway about seven kilometres east of Sicamous claimed two lives. (Black Press Media File Photo)

RCMP say the collision that closed the Trans-Canada Highway about seven kilometres east of Sicamous claimed two lives. (Black Press Media File Photo)

Two deaths confirmed in Highway 1 crash east of Sicamous

WHL team identifies one of the victims as player’s grandfather.

A head-on collision on the Trans-Canada Highway east of Sicamous claimed two lives on Tuesday, April 6.

Police were called to the scene of the crash, near the intersection of Jessop Road and the highway, at approximately 1 p.m.

The RCMP investigation revealed that a westbound pickup truck had crossed the centre line and collided with an eastbound sedan. Both the driver of the pickup, a 73-year-old Sicamous man, and the 46-year-old Salmon Arm woman behind the wheel of the sedan were pronounced dead by emergency services. There was no one else in either vehicle.

Bob Holt, a delivery driver who was one of the first people at the scene of the collision, said he had to slam on his brakes as traffic came to a halt on a two-lane stretch of highway about seven kilometres east of Sicamous. Just a few cars back from the collision, he said he saw the smoke kicked up as the vehicles collided; he joined others who left their cars to try offering help.

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He said before emergency crews arrived, motorists and nearby residents who tried to help the victims had confirmed that the drivers of both vehicles had been killed.

Holt drives the stretch of highway between Sicamous and Revelstoke almost every day as part of his delivery route. He said he often sees close calls between vehicles, particularly on the stretches of road that have only one lane in each direction. He said he would like to see changes on the highway to improve safety, such as an expansion to four lanes or a reduced speed limit.

A tweet from the Regina Pats, a hockey team playing in the Western Hockey League, identified the man killed in the crash as Garth Bedard, the grandfather of Connor Bedard, one of the team’s players.

“We know how close Connor was with his grandfather, who was one of Connor’s biggest fans,” the statement from the team reads.

“Garth was incredibly proud of Connor and took great joy in his grandson’s passion for hockey and even more so in the person he has become.”

The Trans-Canada Highway was closed for hours while police completed their investigation at the scene and the vehicles and debris were removed. According to the RCMP, road and weather conditions were not contributing factors in the crash.

Anyone with further information on the collision or with dash camera footage is asked to contact RCMP Traffic Services unit at 250-344-2221.

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jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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