One of two victims in Monday’s three-car motor vehicle crash on Highway 4 has been identified.
The victim, 34-year old Rikki Anne Easton of Campbell River, was named as the driver of a Chevrolet Cavalier involved in the collision. She succumbed to her injuries Monday evening.
Sergeant Joe Schofield of the RCMP’s Central Vancouver Island Traffic Services confirmed Tuesday that a 37-year-old man who had been driving a GMC pickup truck also died from his injuries Monday evening. His identity is not being released at the request of his family.
Meanwhile, an eight-year-old girl who was a passenger in the pickup truck remains in stable condition in a Victoria area hospital and the passenger of the Cavalier was transported to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, along with the passenger of a third vehicle, a Toyota Rav 4. Both sustained non-life threatening injuries. The driver of the Rav did not require medical transport.
“The seriousness of this crash has been fully realized by the deaths of two individuals,” Schofield said. “We have a team of collision experts working to reconstruct this collision and determine what caused it, in hopes we can bring some answers to the grieving families.”
Erik Duivenvoorde was driving from Port Alberni to Parksville at the time of the crash. He said he was two vehicles back.
“Me and the car before me were able to stop in time,” he said. “I saw the bus slamming on the brakes and steering in the opposite lane to avoid the other cars. I saw a black SUV, the third one that hit. When I got out of the car and was dialling 9-1-1 there was a beige pickup truck in the opposite lane and it looked like they had spun around a couple of times.”
About 30 feet in front of the truck, the witness said, was a man lying on the ground with what appeared to be a severe head injury.
“He said, ‘My baby. Is my baby OK?,” Duivenvoorde said. “Two guys jumped into the pickup and pulled a little girl out and put her on the bus.”
Duivenvoorde then went to a car, where he said a woman appeared badly pinned.
“I saw her move her head and I asked, ‘can you hear us,’” he said. “There was smoke coming from the red car, so I went to the bus to see if they had a fire extinguisher. Pretty soon after that a response came and we were told to go back up with the cars.”
Duivenvoorde had high praise for the emergency officials at the scene.
“Those guys did an amazing job,” he said. “Experiencing something like this really ignites your gratefulness for emergency response teams and how they jump on it and do things that nobody in their right mind could do.”
Duivenvoorde also had praise for the other drivers on the road, who had left enough room between themselves and the next vehicle and were thus able to stop in time.
“Two trucks back from me there was a big truck with pesticides, fertilizer and fuel, the worst combination ever,” he said. “He said he was so glad he followed the rules and did a brake check,”