Update: One driver has died after Wednesday’s crash on Highway 18

Police say tragedy has followed the two-truck collision on Hwy. 18 near Hillcrest Road

Two air ambulance attended the gruesome scene of this crash on Hwy. 18 Wednesday morning.

Two air ambulance attended the gruesome scene of this crash on Hwy. 18 Wednesday morning.

A man injured in Wednesday’s two-vehicle crash on Hwy. 18 died Thursday morning in hospital, police say.

“I was just informed one driver was declared deceased,” Cpl. Jon Stuart, of the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP, said Thursday at around 11:25 a.m.

“No names will be released at this time.”

It wasn’t clear at press time which driver had died.

Police have confirmed a pickup, headed eastbound from Lake Cowichan, appeared to have crossed the centre line, coming into the path of a westbound truck towing a boat trailer shortly after 6 a.m. Sept. 18 on Hwy. 18 near Hillcrest Road.

Mark Primmer was in a westbound vehicle, behind one of two white pickup trucks that collided.

Primmer, of Chemainus’ Well Bred Bakery, told the News Leader Pictorial the westbound truck’s driver, whom he knows, underwent surgery at Victoria General Hospital.

Primmer said he saw the westbound driver’s daughter sitting injured at the roadside, while a passenger from Primmer’s ride removed the westbound driver from the wreckage.

“He was taken out of the vehicle because there was gas and oil everywhere.”

The eastbound male driver was “wrapped up” in his crumpled vehicle. That driver’s male passenger was thrown clear, Primmer said.

Both injured passengers have since been released from hospital, Stuart said today.

“No charges yet, but the investigation is continuing,” Stuart said.

Primmer said he and his friends — headed on a fishing trip off Port Renfrew with folks in the westbound truck — tried to call for help, but there was no cell-phone reception at the crash scene.

“We flagged down the next vehicle, and asked them to call for help when they got to (Duncan).”

Two air ambulances attended the scene to transport injured people to hospital.

“We were part of a two-boat convoy this morning (Sept. 18) when the truck and boat ahead of us was struck head-on by a vehicle on the road to Lake Cowichan,” Primmer said on Wednesday’s Facebook post, with a photo illustrating the scene. “Surreal is the word that comes to mind.”

He was coming to terms with the gruesome incident.

“There was an explosion and stuff, and smoke and what have you. You kind of squint your eyes. I’m still in disbelief,” he said by telephone late Wednesday morning.

“Both the trucks were white. When the smoke was clearing and in the confusion, you didn’t even know which one was which.”

Highway 18 was blocked in both directions as investigators scoured the scene. The highway was reopened at about 2 p.m. Wednesday.

— file from Ashley Degraaf