After a recent rash of car accidents in Whistler, local RCMP
officials are reminding locals and visitors to drive with caution in the Sea to
Sky region, especially during the winter months.
A resident of Alaska has been charged with dangerous
operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm, after causing a head-on
collision along Highway 99 last Thursday, Jan. 10 in the afternoon.
James Kroener, 18, was driving through Whistler on the way
to Oregon, and passed a number of vehicles on a two-lane section in the Power
Line Hill area, just south of Whistler.
Kroener’s vehicle struck a northbound SUV driven by a
resident of Squamish, causing the closure of the highway for about 80 minutes.
The lone occupant of the northbound vehicle also suffered a broken kneecap and
underwent emergency surgery.
Kroener was released on a recognizance with cash bail and is
scheduled appear in North Vancouver Provincial Court on Jan. 23.
Road conditions were especially hazardous on Monday, with
officers responding to three separate calls along Highway 99 between Squamish
and Whistler after a sudden drop in temperature created icy conditions.
The slick roads even caused problems for emergency workers
on scene, who found it hard to find good footing on the roads.
At approximately 2:30 p.m., a northbound vehicle hit another
vehicle turning out of a construction zone, flipping one of the cars, but not
causing any serious injuries. The highway was reopened after a short delay.
But just hours later, there was a five-vehicle accident that
closed the highways for hours and resulted in one person being transported to
Vancouver General Hospital with serious injuries.
To add to emergency responders’ workload, a commercial
vehicle traveling along the highway dropped some of its load after a rear door
swung open. The highway had to be closed again while the debris was cleared.
Last weekend there were also two reports of impaired driving
and six collisions.
Investigations are underway to determine the cause of each of
the recent accidents, but RCMP officials are asking drivers to ensure they have
proper tires and chains, and that they keep their speed relative to road
Cars are required to have a tread of 3.5 mm, although snow
tires are highly recommended for travel in the Sea to Sky Corridor. Commercial
vehicles must also be properly equipped.
“All our buses at this time of the year have snow tires,”
said Dean Clark, the regional manager of safety for Greyhound Bus.
Buses also carry chains. The biggest problem for the buses
is the constant melting and re-freezing of the road surface as traffic volume
moves from freely flowing to being bumper-to-bumper. If road crews can’t treat
the roads to deal with the ice due to traffic volume it can soon become a highway
The Ministry of Transportation is also looking at the
stretch of road between Creekside and Function Junction with a view to doing
roadwork to widen and improve the shoulders, said spokesman Jeff Knight.
“We won’t know more until spring when we get our budget,” he
“We have done some design work for future widening and
shoulder improvements and after the budget comes out we will get our highways
program mapped out.”
Anyone with information regarding these incidents is asked to contact Whistler RCMP at 604-932-3044 or Crime Stoppers at