Accidents claim two lives

A pair of fatal accidents have delivered a devastating blow to Okanagan Falls.

A pair of fatal accidents have delivered a devastating blow to Okanagan Falls.

A 71-year-old woman is dead after being struck by a vehicle while crossing the street in Okanagan Falls on Friday evening .

RCMP said Alma (also known as Yvonne) Cumberland was crossing Highway 97 near Willow Street around 7:20 p.m. when she was hit by a westbound vehicle driven by a 60-year-old Penticton man.

That incident came just a day after RCMP dive team members retrieved the lifeless body of an Okanagan Falls woman from Vaseux Lake on Thursday.

The 44-year-old woman drove her 1996 Pontiac Grand Am off Highway 97 and into Vaseux Lake around 2:30 p.m. RCMP said attempts by citizens, police, fire and ambulance personnel to extricate her were unsuccessful as the car had sank.

The RCMP dive team attended later that night and the vehicle and woman were found. No other vehicles or people were involved in the crash.

Cpl. Dave Cramm, of the integrated road safety unit, said there was limited street lighting in the area where the pedestrian was struck Friday night, and the Okanagan Falls woman was wearing dark clothing. Cramm also said the portion of the roadway was not designated as a pedestrian crossing area.

“With any pedestrian-vehicle related crash it is subject to review by the Crown prosecutors office, so we will complete our investigation and the re-constructionalist in Kelowna will present us with a report based on his interpretation of the crash,” said Cpl. Bryce Petersen.

“From there, the prosecutor will make the decision on whether or not they feel any type of charges would go towards the driver, but that will be months down the road because it has been so busy this summer.”

Petersen said now that it is getting darker earlier, pedestrians should remember to wear bright clothing and be alert of their surroundings.

“The society of automotive engineers has done a number of experiments and observations over the years and basically what they have found is that people over the age of 14 don’t use crosswalks consistently. There are people who will use crosswalks consistently but the majority will walk mid-block,” said Petersen.

“The rule in the Motor Vehicle Act is a pedestrian has to yield to a vehicle when not in a crosswalk, in other words they have to make sure it is safe to cross. The onus of responsibility does not fall on the driver of the vehicle all the time. You have to look at sight distance and a variety of other factors before you can make the determination that the driver of the vehicle is or is not at fault with regards to a crash outside of a crosswalk.”

The fatal pedestrian-vehicle crash is still under investigation by South Okanagan Traffic Services. Anyone who witnessed the incident or has related information is asked to contact traffic services at 250-499-2250 or call CrimeStoppers.