NEWS

Logging truck collision in snowstorm probed in B.C. inquest

03/25/2013 10:02 EDT | Updated 05/25/2013 05:12 EDT
An unusual inquest that could change how the B.C. Ministry of Transportation handles road closures during severe weather began in Invermere Monday.

The BC Coroners Service typically does not hold inquests for traffic collisions, but this case raised an interesting question: what happens when you start closing major roads because of poor weather?

In 2011, three men were all killed when the car they were in was struck by two separate trucks during a snowstorm.

On Jan. 19, the day of the crash, the winter weather was so bad near the village of Radium Hot Springs that all of the major highways in the area were closed, including the Trans-Canada Highway.

The closure forced all traffic, including large transport trucks, onto the smaller Highway 95.

Chul Lee, Kwang Cha and Chungjic Koh, were travelling southbound on Highway 95 north of Brisco when their car was struck by a logging truck, and then thrown into the path of an oncoming semi truck. The three men, all from B.C.'s Lower Mainland, were killed.

Barb McLintock, spokeswoman with the BC Coroners Service, says the inquest jury will consider all factors that contributed to the fatal crash.

"Whether there's issues around road maintenence, road closures.... I'm sure they're going to look at the economy of getting the trucks through versus the safety of the roads and so on," she said.

The inquest runs until Thursday.

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