Collision on Hwy 1 caused by tire blowout, says RCMP

Ladysmith RCMP have identified a blown-out tire as the cause of a single-vehicle accident that shut down Highway 1 Tuesday afternoon.

A tire blowout has been identified as the cause of a single-vehicle accident that brought traffic to a grinding halt on Highway 1 Tuesday, April 23.

Shortly after 3 p.m. Tuesday, a commercial dump truck and trailer lost control as it approached the southern outskirts of Ladysmith in a northbound lane of Highway 1. Laden with gravel, the truck smashed through the centre divider and flipped onto its side as its trailer uncoupled.

The accident was thought by some witnesses to have been caused by the loss of a wheel, but RCMP investigators have since determined that a tire blowout was responsible for the crash.

“According to witnesses and the driver, they heard a loud ‘pop’ which indicates that the tire blew. [The driver] was unable to maintain steady control of the truck and it ended up colliding with the barricade,” Const. Jo Anne Ruppenthal of the Ladysmith RCMP said.

The driver of the truck — a man from Victoria — exited the vehicle under his own power in spite of a broken leg suffered during the accident. He was then airlifted to Victoria, Ruppenthal said, where he underwent surgery on his leg Tuesday night.

“He has a couple more surgeries [to go,]” Ruppenthal added, “But he’s in stable condition and he’s healing well. There has been no loss of limb.”

Highway 1 was completely closed for two hours Tuesday afternoon before a lone northbound lane could be reopened, Ruppenthal said. The second northbound lane opened half an hour later, she added, but southbound lanes remained closed for approximately five hours.

Vehicle inspectors from Transport Canada (TC) were on the scene looking at the vehicle, Ruppenthal said, which is owned by Shawnigan Lake-based Aggressive Excavating Ltd. TC investigations are standard practice whenever a commercial vehicle is involved in a collision, she added, but the Ladysmith RCMP has yet to receive a copy of their report.

“What’s remarkable is the fact that this accident occurred at a quarter after three on an afternoon where all the kids are leaving school,” Ruppenthal said, “and he was the only person that was affected by it. That’s a miracle in itself.”