Teri-Ann Lowery’s vehicle was struck by a boulder that flew off a ridge above her on the Trans-Canada Highway between Squilax and Sorrento on Saturday, Sept. 22. One of her vehicle’s tires was ruined and she hopes the highways ministry will fix the problem before someone gets hurt. (Photo contributed)

Vehicle struck by flying boulder on Trans-Canada Highway in Shuswap

Rocks fly off ridge on Highway 1 between Squilax and Sorrento, wreck tire

Teri-Ann Lowery still feels shaken by an incident on the weekend.

She was driving from Kamloops to Salmon Arm on the Trans-Canada Highway to visit her mother on Saturday, Sept. 22 between noon and 1 p.m.

As she rounded a curve between Squilax and Sorrento, near where there’s a light and the road is two lanes with the lake on one side and bluffs rising on the other, rocks came flying down off the ridge.

“There was a 4-by-4 truck behind me. I was going to let him pass me – he didn’t seem to want to pass, but he was behind me and saw the whole thing…

“A huge amount of boulders came out of nowhere on the highway. I couldn’t swerve, I would have gone into traffic.”

One boulder, which she describes as about the size of two basketballs, smashed into her right front tire, leaving a gash in it.

Related: Crew works to stabilize hillside

She says she was able to pull into the driveway of a blue house next to the roadway where the man in the truck behind her helped her change the tire. He told her that one of the rocks just missed him. It went under his vehicle which, fortunately, sits higher above the road than hers – a small Mazda sedan.

“I was scared to death,” Lowery says, still shaken. “It was horrifyingly scary. Nowhere to go; it all came down at once, all those boulders. It was actually amazing I wasn’t seriously hurt, to be honest. It came down so fast and so many of them, it could have been way worse.”

The fear has stayed with her.

“I was so traumatized by it. I was just shaking, I couldn’t sleep all night. I guess it was all the rain that loosened up the boulders. You don’t even have time to think.”

Related: Large boulder closes Trans-Canada Highway at Three Valley Gap

Lowery says she called the highways ministry and left a message explaining where it happened. When she drove past the spot on the way back to Kamloops, the boulders were gone and must have been removed by someone.

“They couldn’t have gone into the lake; that median blocks it from going.”

She hopes the ministry will do something to prevent a future tragedy.

“I felt I had just escaped a really serious injury or even death. I missed a really big rock that went under his truck. I would have hit it or the median. They have to do something with that part of the highway. It could cause some really serious bad stuff. They need to put up some nets or something.”

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure was unable to provide information but a spokesperson said it is looking into the matter.


@SalmonArm
newsroom@saobserver.net

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