A photo taken by Campbell River resident Brian Miller shows damage to a building struck by a car shortly before 8 a.m. on March 10, 2019. The collision caused a gas leak that shut down the Island Highway for several hours.

UPDATED: Driver lost consciousness before crash that caused gas leak

Island Highway closed for several hours following collision on Sunday

The man who drove his car into a downtown business on Sunday said he lost consciousness moments before the collision, according to a local resident who dragged the man from the scene.

The crash caused a gas leak that closed the Island Highway for hours. Campbell River resident Brian Miller was driving to work when he arrived on the scene shortly before 8 a.m.

“I probably rolled up like 15, 20 seconds after he actually hit the wall,” Miller said.

Miller pulled over after noticing a young woman running across the highway to help the driver. Miller called 911 and attended to the emergency.

Natural gas was rushing from a broken gas line when Miller approached the silver Toyota car, which had crossed the centre line from the northbound lane and smashed into the corner of Campbell River Collateral, a pawnbroker.

“The gas was blowing everywhere, you could hear it,” Miller said.

The young woman was tapping on the window of the car. The car didn’t appear badly damaged but the air was thick with the smell of gas, and Miller yelled at the young woman to back away.

Miller shouted at the man, asking if he was okay and whether he could step out of the car. He told the man not to start his engine to avoid an explosion. The man opened the door and “half fell out of the car,” Miller said.

Miller dragged the man to a spot about 20 feet away, where he checked the man for injuries and covered him with a blanket. The driver, possibly in his 50s, didn’t appear badly injured but seemed “super out of it.”

As the smell of gas became stronger, Miller moved the driver further away from the scene of the crash with the help of another passerby. An ambulance soon arrived and took the man away.

The driver told Miller and the young woman who first attended the scene that he’d passed out at the wheel.

“He just said he just lost consciousness and woke up kinda into the wall,” Miller said, adding that the driver also mentioned recent health problems.

READ MORE: Police treating Salmon Point pub fire as ‘suspicious’

READ MORE: Campbell River firefighters honoured at awards ceremony

Campbell River Fire Rescue confirmed that a driver was taken to hospital after his vehicle crashed into Island Collateral at 870 Island Hwy. in an incident that caused a gas leak.

“When it impacted the building, it came in contact with the gas meter and sheared it off,” said Cpt. John Baker, the commanding officer at the scene of the incident.

Firefighters responded to the crash shortly before 8 a.m., and arrived on-scene with BC Ambulance workers and RCMP. Workers from FortisBC, an energy company, arrived later.

“We’ve had gas escaping here since shortly before eight o’clock,” Baker said around noon, as FortisBC workers emptied gas from a line ahead of repairs on the broken meter.

Firefighters planned to vent out several buildings after checking for residual gas in consultation with gas workers, Baker said.

He added that BC Hydro had shut down power at three businesses – Mom’s Book Bin, Tyee Marine and Campbell River Collateral – on the west side of the road.

Traffic flaggers were turning vehicles away between Robert V. Ostler Park and 6th Avenue and the smell of natural gas still hung in the air. Pedestrian access to the area was also restricted.

The highway was open to single-lane alternating traffic by mid-afternoon on Sunday, and normal circulation has now resumed. The Campbell River RCMP didn’t immediately respond to a request for information on Monday.


@davidgordonkoch
david.koch@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

A gas meter was sheared off in a single-vehicle crash on the Island Highway in central Campbell River on Sunday. Photo by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River Mirror

First responders at the scene of a gas leak following a motor vehicle incident on the Island Highway Sunday. Photo by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River Mirror

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Sold-out crowd enjoys BCHL game at the Brindy

Alberni Valley Bulldogs beat Trail Smoke Eaters 5-2

Campbell River RCMP officer assaulted during traffic stop

Officer expected to make a full recovery; had been conducting impaired driving investigation alone

Campbell River hydro project workers pitch a perfect safety game

The billion dollar price tag is not the only astonishing number

PHOTOS: More than 40 people gather for pro-choice rally

Event was planned to coincide with pro-life speaker Denise Mountenay presentation

Bye bye Bei Bei: Giant panda born in U.S. zoo heads to China

Panda heads back to China as part of cooperate breeding program

$2.9 million judgment in B.C. blueberry farm sabotage lawsuit

The new owners saw most of their farm ruined just as they took possession

B.C. to more than double sales tax on vaping products

Tax up from 7 to 20 per cent, tobacco tax up two cents

29 B.C. students in Hong Kong amid tense protests, university siege

Eight UVic and 21 UBC students still in Hong Kong

Site where rockslide occurred along Malahat is too narrow for rock blasting or drilling: Emcon

‘Rockfalls are inevitable, so we try to increase our response times,’ says representative

‘Midget’ no more: Sweeping division name changes coming to minor hockey in Canada

Alpha-numeric division names will be used for the 2020-2021 season and beyond

Ottawa urges CN and union to continue talks as 3,200 workers go on strike

The rail workers began their strike after failing to reach a deal by a midnight deadline

Trans Mountain received $320M in government subsidies in first half 2019: report

The money included $135.8 million in direct subsidies and $183.8 million in indirect subsidies

Student tells B.C. Supreme Court she wasn’t allowed to leave indigenous smudging ceremony

Girl cross-examined Monday in Nanaimo courtroom, case continues Tuesday

Most Read