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Fatal Whistler logging truck death gets coroner's inquest

Jury could make rulings on preventing similar accidents



The BC Coroners Service has announced that it will hold an inquest into the death of a motorcyclist killed in a logging truck incident in Whistler last fall.

Hugh Craig Roberts, aged 65, of West Vancouver, was riding his motorcycle northbound on Highway 99 on the afternoon of Oct. 19, 2013, when, near the intersection of Nordic Way in Whistler, a southbound logging truck lost its load into the northbound lanes and Roberts was fatally injured.

The accident happened on a Saturday afternoon when the highway was busy with motorists, pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcycles, and caused immediate reaction from municipal government officials concerned for the safety of residents and visitors.

The Resort Municipality of Whistler has no jurisdiction over the provincial highway, but Whistler's mayor, Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, has been meeting with stakeholders about the accident since it happened.

This week, according to the mayor's Facebook page, she met with Dwight Yochim, executive director of The Truck Loggers Association and Dustin Meierhofer, director, Transportation and Northern Safety of the BC Forest Safety Council.

"Although log hauling is done safely most of the time, these groups are working on (programs) to reduce incidents in the future," she said in her post.

"There's a pilot (program) being conducted in Prince George, for example, called 'Anatomy of a Rollover' designed to educate drivers and loader operators alike of steps to take to prevent rollovers."

The fatal accident was one of two logging truck incidents last October. The first crash happened in the Cheakamus Canyon on Oct. 2. No one was seriously hurt.

Local Liberal MLA Jordan Sturdy has also been part of the on-going discussions about potential action the provincial government can take.

Presiding coroner Chico Newell and a jury will hear evidence from witnesses to understand what happened that day, and the jury will have the opportunity to make recommendations aimed at preventing similar deaths.

No date has yet been set for this inquest.


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