One man is dead after the vehicle he was driving collided with an oncoming vehicle and rolled into the ditch early Saturday morning on Highway 97, one kilometre north of the Salmon Valley bridge.
The lone occupant of a southbound Chrysler passenger vehicle, which was reportedly being driven erratically just before the crash, clipped a northbound GMC Sierra pickup truck driven by a B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic on his way to work in community north of Prince George.
The driver of the Chrysler was ejected from the vehicle, landing on the paved shoulder of the highway. He was pronounced dead on the scene of the crash, which happened at about 4:26 am.
The driver of the other vehicle, the lone occupant of the truck, was uninjured in the accident. He was transported to UHNBC for further examination and is expected to be released later today.
Highway 97 was closed in both directions until about 1 p.m. Saturday while the Prince George Regional Provincial Traffic Services Unit, Prince George North District RCMP and the BC Coroners Service conducted their investigation.
Police are not releasing the identity of the fatally-injured man until next of kin have been notified but North District RCMP Staff Sgt. Pat McTiernan did confirm the man was a resident of Bear Lake, 70 km north of Prince George.
"We're holding that close to our chests because Bear Lake (a village of about 150 people) is such a small community," said McTiernan. "We're just trying to find out some this guy's history over the last 24 hours. There's a possibility his mom might be in Ontario and we have the Ontario Provincial Police helping out right now. We're hoping his dad will link us to any other family here in B.C."
The RCMP suspects alcohol, failure to use a seat belt, and speed were contributing factors in the fatality.
"The paramedic at the scene said he was trying to get out of his way and he couldn't," said McTiernan. "We have no witnesses to the crash. At that time of day there aren't many people on the highway. We're just not sure if anybody else had to get out his way further north."
Police are asking any witnesses of the crash or who might have seen either of the vehicles prior to the collision to call the Prince George Regional Provincial Traffic Services Unit at 250-649-4004.
It was the first highway fatality on a long weekend this summer in the Prince George region. No motorists were killed in vehicle accidents on either the Canada Day or B.C. Day weekends.
"I was hoping we weren't going to have to do this," said McTiernan.