A 16-year-old male has died as a result of injuries sustained in a single vehicle accident on the outskirts of the city on Highway 16.
The unlicensed driver was the lone occupant of a westbound Hyundai Accent compact car at about 5:20 a.m. Thursday when it skidded off the highway just before the Yellowhead Bridge and hit a concrete barrier, flipping several times end-over-end down a steep embankment, coming to a stop more than 100 metres from where it left the road.
The youth, believed to be a student at Prince George secondary school, was taken to University Hospital of Northern B.C. in critical condition, but died later in hospital.
It is the first fatal accident within city limits this year.
RCMP media liaison officer Cpl. Craig Douglass confirmed speed and alcohol were contributing factors in the accident.
"That car had to be [travelling at a high rate of speed] to get the distance it did from the road," said Douglass. "It easily went 100 metres from the highway. I can't imagine how many times it would have rolled. The driver's seat and the passenger seat looked like the only things that looked somewhat intact and the rest of the car looked like a ball of metal.
"There were obvious signs to the officers at the scene that alcohol was a factor. It was probably the seatbelt that kept him alive."
RCMP will be stepping up traffic patrols this holiday weekend, hoping for a repeat of the three-day Victoria Day weekend, in which there were no traffic fatalities anywhere in B.C.
"We had no traffic fatalities that weekend and that's just about unheard of," said Douglass. "It's possible every weekend, but it usually doesn't end up that way."
All available patrol units will be on the road over the Canada Day weekend and officers will be targeting impaired drivers, enforcing seat belt use, and watching for distracted driving and aggressive drivers -- all major factors in serious and fatal collisions.
"We will be using unconventional vehicles to assist in apprehension of drivers who drive aggressively and endanger the lives of others using the roadways," said RCMP Staff Sgt. Pat McTiernan. "We have a number of unusual unmarked vehicles available to ensure everyone is driving safely. Motorists can expect our enforcement personnel to adopt a zero-tolerance approach with little chance of warnings.
To reduce the risk of highway traffic accidents, the RCMP recommends:
* Plan your trip in advance and allow plenty of time for road construction or other delays. Check the Drive BC website for news of road closures or detours;
* Carry supplies that could be needed in the event of a lengthy delay, such as food, water blankets and emergency equipment;
* Take regular breaks to reduce the risk of driver fatigue;
* Avoid heavy meals when travelling, which can increase the risk of drowsiness;
* Be patient when caught behind slow-moving traffic. Don't take unnecessary risks by passing when it's unsafe;
* Be especially careful to watch for wildlife on highways, especially at night, or at dusk or dawn.