One of the drivers involved in a crash with a camper van driving the wrong way on the Upper Levels Highway in West Vancouver Wednesday believes he is lucky to be alive after swerving at the last second to avoid a direct head-on collision.
“I had literally like a second to react and turn to the right. They still caught the tail end of us and we just went flying through the air. We were literally flipping,” said Quinton Spence about the ordeal. “There was a lot of glass that exploded in our faces, went in our mouths and stuff.”
Spence’s car came to a rest on its wheels facing the wrong direction and he and his brother, who was in the car with him, managed to escape serious injury.
The driver of a pickup truck also swerved to avoid the camper van but lost control and rolled down a steep embankment.
Spence said he ran to see if the people in the truck were hurt.
“I see an old man. He’s sitting on a log or something like that and his wife is holding him, she’s trying not to cry,” he said. “He had blood just all over his face and some blood coming out of his eye.”
After the truck swerved out of its path, the RV hit a red car head on, causing significant damage to both vehicles.
The van wound up resting on its side on top of the car.
A total of six people were injured in the collisions, including two who went to the hospital with critical injuries.
Police have not revealed which off-ramp the wrong-way driver may have used to enter the freeway but the closest one to the crash site is at 22nd Avenue.
It is very clearly marked with “Do Not Enter” and “Wrong Way” signs.
Wednesday’s crash is not the first on that stretch of highway to be caused by a driver traveling in the wrong direction.
In May of 2014, a cargo van traveling east in the west-bound lanes collided with several vehicles.
Six people also went to the hospital in that crash, including a toddler who required surgery.
At the time, West Van Police said they believed the driver of the van was impaired.
Investigators have not said if they also think that’s the case with the woman in her 20s who was behind the wheel of the camper van on Wednesday.
“It’s early on in this investigation and we’re hoping to determine the cause and all of that,” said Const. Nicole Braithwaite.
At the crash site, a cannabis plant could be seen among the debris that spilled out of the van, and police carefully examined a small purse or backpack in the shape of a stuffed giraffe, and a glass jar that contained an unknown substance.
“I asked him myself,” said Spence of the officer who called him to follow up Thursday. “Was she under the influence?”
So far police have not told him if that’s the reason the driver wound up on the wrong side of the highway causing such mayhem and serious injury.