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Snow, three injury-accidents close Malahat Monday

Snowy conditions on the Malahat last night contributed to three crashes in a 90-minute stretch. - courtesy Rob Patterson
Snowy conditions on the Malahat last night contributed to three crashes in a 90-minute stretch.
— image credit: courtesy Rob Patterson

Three separate accidents on icy and snow-covered stretches of Malahat-area roads caused various injuries, and closed the Malahat for a short time Monday evening, officials said.

The Malahat was closed at about 7:30 p.m. and reopened at around 8:45 p.m., said Malahat Volunteer Fire Hall chief Rob Patterson.

Mike Wright, deputy-chief at Shawnigan Lake's hall, said  “white out” conditions ruled areas of the 'Hat at around 6 p.m. during the capital-Cowichan commute.

The busy night's first crash happened at around  4:45 p.m. when Shawnigan Lake RCMP responded to a four-vehicle crash near the Malahat Mountain Inn, Sgt. Rob Webb said Tuesday.

That incident was also handled by Langford firefighters.

“All involved were very fortunate to walk away from this crash,” Webb said. “The northbound lane was reduced to one lane for approximately one hour.”

The second wreck occurred at around 7 p.m. when a vehicle hit black ice and rolled along South Shawnigan Lake Road, Patterson said.

“In this instance,” Webb said, “witnesses state the driver was well below the speed limit, the conditions of the road were extremely icy at the time. The driver was taken to hospital with non- life threatening injuries.”

That accident spelled neck and back injuries to the driver, Patterson said.

Then at around 7:30 p.m., a four-vehicle pile up — on compact and blowing snow — just north of Aspen Road closed the 'Hat, “but luckily there were no serious injuries,” Patterson noted.

Webb said one driver was taken to hospital with non- life threatening injuries after a northbound SUV traveling northbound slid across and entered the southbound lane, causing the crash.

Patterson said the chain reaction was possibly caused by drivers following too close for road conditions.

A crisis also erupted when an elderly female arrived to give a lift to two uninjured relatives from one damaged vehicle, then suffered a medical condition at the scene.

“She was unresponsive, but came to,” Patterson said of the woman taken to hospital.

His eight firefighters and four trucks returned to the hall at about 9:15 p.m.

“It gave our firefighters a darned good work out,” summed Patterson.

Webb urged drivers to take extra time and care driving on winter roads.

“During the past three days Shawnigan Lake RCMP have responded to more than 15 accidents involving either injury or extensive damage to vehicles.”

Little wonder, given winter conditions forecast by Environment Canada.

“The highest potential for the heaviest snowfalls will be between Victoria and Nanaimo and

over Southern Gulf Islands after the low forms by Sunday morning,” the feds said on the weekend.

“The public should be prepared for snow and winter-like conditions at

any time through Wednesday of next week.”

The possibility of snowfall will continue until it warms slightly on the weekend.

Travelers should ensure vehicles have winter tires and closely monitor weather forecasts, warnings and special weather statements via the media, and at www.weatheroffice.bc.ca. Road conditions can be monitored at drivebc.ca.

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