Trucker charged in Alberta highway pileup, Mounties still investigating earlier crashes
Health & Safety Highway Safety trucking safety
By Laurie Tritschler, Shootin’ the Breeze
Pincher Creek RCMP have charged a commercial trucker allegedly responsible for one of last week’s pileups on Highway 3, according to Sgt. Ryan Hodge.
The trucker was charged under Alberta’s Traffic and Safety Act with not driving to highway conditions near Cowley last Thursday about 10 a.m., when a tractor-trailer collided with the back of a smaller truck, allegedly causing a multiple-vehicle collision that sent people to hospital, Hodge said.
Pat Neumann, chief of Pincher Creek Emergency Services, said at least eight vehicles were involved in the pileup, including multiple tractor-trailers. First responders closed the highway until around 1 p.m., with Alberta Transportation officials diverting traffic through an improvised detour.
Neumann said two people were taken to hospital with moderate injuries. One was treated at Pincher Creek Health Centre and later transferred to Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge, while the other was initially treated in Crowsnest Pass and then airlifted to a Calgary hospital.
Mounties are still investigating a series of Highway 3 collisions near Pincher Station the night before, which Hodge said could lead to more charges.
Police attended four collisions reported in the area between 4 p.m. March 1 and around 8 a.m. March 2 _ just hours before the incident near Cowley.
Hodge regretted that many drivers aren’t driving to winter highway conditions, which he said are notoriously treacherous between Pincher Station and Crowsnest Pass.
Snowdrifts had crept onto Highway 3 at Pincher Station by late afternoon March 1, but responding officers reported adequate visibility. Neumann said the highway was slippery near Cowley the next morning, adding that blowing snow had reduced visibility.
Mounties don’t believe drugs or alcohol were involved in any of the collisions they attended.
Pincher Creek RCMP strongly recommend that drivers use caution on Highway 3.
“When you see a snowdrift on the highway, slow down and wait until it’s safe to drive around it,” Hodge said.