Police believe speed and alcohol were factors in a collision that closed Highway 19A in downtown Campbell River on Sunday afternoon.
Three people were sent to hospital following the crash, which took place at the corner of the Island Highway and Shoppers Row.
Two have since been released from hospital, while the third remained hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries by late afternoon.
It appears that a car with a lone male driver swerved while making a right-hand turn heading northbound along Highway 19A, and smashed into a car that contained a driver and one passenger heading southbound at the intersection.
“We do believe that the vehicle with a sole occupant was speeding, and alcohol is believed to be a factor,” said Cpl. Jordan MacKellar of the Campbell River RCMP in an email to the Mirror.
He added that the investigation is still in its early stages and the exact speed will be determined by collision reconstructionists.
The second car was either waiting at a red light or moving slowly on a yellow, he said.
Rubble was strewn across Highway 19A and a police drone hovered overhead as police gathered evidence on Sunday afternoon.
The road was open to traffic by late afternoon.
Firefighters used the jaws of life to pry open the door of the car struck in the head-on collision, said Cpt. Reid Wharton of Campbell River Fire Rescue. The emergency call came in at 12:57 p.m., he said.
A woman who was driving the struck car, a Mazda, was injured in the collision, possibly suffering a broken arm or wrist, Wharton said, while the driver who barrelled into them wasn’t hurt.
His car was also less badly damaged, but the jaws of life were also used to open the door of his vehicle, Wharton said.
“He sat tight until we dealt with the lady,” Wharton said.
The force of the collision caused the man’s car, a Nissan Maxima, to spin 180 degrees before it settled, while the Mazda was pushed across the lane towards the nearby Chevron station.
The Nissan also hit a nearby Dodge Ram, which appeared to be only slightly damaged. The driver of that vehicle wasn’t injured, Wharton said.