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Driver pinned in vehicle following collision with truck
Treacherous road conditions due to heavy snow are being blamed in part for two separate accidents which sent three people to hospital late Tuesday afternoon.
The most serious appears to have been a collision between a passenger sedan and one-ton truck on Hwy. 97 just north of Summerland at about 4 p.m.
It took Summerland firefighters, using the Jaws of Life rescue equipment, nearly 20 minutes to free the driver of the car, a 39-year-old Kaleden man. According to assistant fire chief Chad Gartrell, the victim was pinned beneath the car’s dashboard when crews arrived at the scene near North Beach Road.
“The airbags had deployed and he was wearing his seatbelt but the whole dash was crushed in on him,” said Gartrell. “There was a lot of metal to take out, we had to remove both doors on the one side, cut out the centre post and then lift the dash up to get him out. You’re kind of taking the car away from the person.”
“He was in shock, obviously but he was conscious and talking.”
Once freed, the injured man, the lone occupant, was rushed to Kelowna General Hospital. He suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries. The 911 call was initially dispatched as a head-on collision however, Gartrell said it was difficult to tell from the vehicles positioning exactly what happened.
According to Const. Kris Clark of the Kelowna RCMP, the northbound truck spun twice and crossed into the oncoming lanes where the southbound Pontiac Grand Prix struck the vehicle on the side, both coming to rest in the ditch on the west side of the highway. The unidentified truck driver suffered minor injuries.
According to Gartrell, the deployment of air bags and improved vehicle design can impact the seriousness of the injuries to vehicle occupants in the event of a such crash.
“In the old cars from years ago, you are what took the brunt of the impact and in newer vehicles these days the car absorbs the impact the way it crumples,” he said. “In a situation like that the airbags work pretty good because it’s stopping you from getting that big cranial impact.”
The other accident happened about the same time in the area of Naramata and Three Mile roads and also involved two vehicles.
Two people were taken to Penticton Regional Hospital with undetermined injuries.