A dangerous intersection in Smithers, at Queen Street and Highway 16. (Grant Harris photo)

A dangerous intersection in Smithers, at Queen Street and Highway 16. (Grant Harris photo)

Smithers RCMP “seriously concerned” about rash of traffic collisions

Smithers drivers are being warned to slow down and heed traffic lights

Highway 16 and Queen Street in Smithers was the site of a third crash in less than one month Oct. 22. No serious injuries were reported and the collision remains under investigation.

Smithers RCMP detachment commander Terry Gillespie says the recent series of collisions at this intersection is a serious cause for concern.

“I was just in the process of applying for emergency monies for extra traffic enforcement officer time when this collision occurred,” Gillespie said.

“We are putting the word out, there will be a stronger traffic patrol presence in Smithers. For those choosing to speed up on yellow traffic lights or inclined to run a red light, you have been warned. In light of the number of collisions recently the Smithers RCMP are extremely concerned.”

Gillespie acknowledged the volume of traffic, especially of heavy 18-wheel trucks, has increased over the last year, and the ability of a big trucks to stop quickly is next to impossible.

“If you are following a large truck, and your view of the traffic lights is impeded, you need to slow down enough to see the lights clearly.”

Large trucks are not the only culprits, however, as the collisions at the “Tim Horton’s intersection” have involved mostly light vehicles, but it is the traffic trend in Smithers, that has the RCMP commander “seriously concerned,” saying it has to stop.

The Oct. 22 crash follows a collision at the same intersection just two days earlier on Oct. 20 when a minivan rear-ended a utility van and another on Sept. 23, which resulted in the rollover of an SUV.

No serious injuries were reported from any of these crashes, but a fourth wreck further down the highway near 19th Ave., also on Oct. 20, killed Tonya Horsfield and seriously injured her son Jason when a motorhome collided with her car.

Gillespie said criminal charges are pending in that investigation.

A subsequent GoFundMe campaign to help Tonya’s husband Steven, Jason and daughter Cassidy, raised tens of thousands of dollars to help with medical-related expenses, funeral costs and to generally help the family through its time of crisis.

RCMP are warning residents to “slow down, and heed traffic lights, especially now that we are going into the winter months where weather and road conditions can deteriorate rapidly.”

Many school children and pedestrians cross the highway at all of the intersections in Smithers every day, leaving the Town of Smithers, the Ministry of Transportation, and the Smithers RCMP in talks over how to deal with traffic issues in Smithers.

 

The intersection of Highway 16 and Queen Street in Smithers, the sight of several collisions recently. (Deb Meissner photo)

The intersection of Highway 16 and Queen Street in Smithers, the sight of several collisions recently. (Deb Meissner photo)

No serious injuries in a collision at the intersection of Queen Street and Highway 16. (Deb Meissner photo)

No serious injuries in a collision at the intersection of Queen Street and Highway 16. (Deb Meissner photo)