One man is dead after wet roads Sunday afternoon turned to black ice on a section of Highway 3, 10 kilometres southeast of Castlegar.
A 57-year-old Calgary man, Harry Frederick Klapper, was ejected from a 2008 GMC pickup around 10:30 p.m. when the vehicle he had been riding in lost control due to slippery road conditions and slid down a 100-foot embankment.
The man was likely the only one of the four passengers in the vehicle that was not wearing a seatbelt, said West Kootenay Traffic Services Sgt. Derrick Donovan.
Although he could not say if the roads in the area had been sanded, he did note the extremely slippery conditions on the area’s highways several hours after the CFL’s B.C. Lions had won the Grey Cup.
“The vehicle had reasonable winter tires on it, it was just a combination of the roads being slippery and . . . speed wasn’t excessive but they may have been going a little too fast for the conditions,” he said. “Unfortunately, you can’t always foresee black ice.”
The area had some moisture there and there was a lot of black ice in the area. Sgt. Donovan said that he attended the scene and saw sanding trucks coming out in both directions, but he wasn’t sure if they had arrived at the area prior to the collision.
Klapper died as a result of his injuries from the collision. The driver and two other occupants were transported to the Trail and Nelson hospitals and treated for non-life threatening injuries.
If you are not wearing your seatbelt there is a high percentage of chance — 75 per cent — that you will be ejected from the vehicle, said Sgt. Donovan.
Alcohol was not a factor, he added, but the investigation is still continuing.
The road was closed for about four hours and then opened to one lane traffic.
There were other incidents in the region occurring due to the black ice, but there were no injuries reported. Sgt. Donovan said early morning and early evening — after 6 p.m. — were the worst times for black ice.
He also noted that the areas of the Taghum Bluffs 12 kilometres west of Nelson, near the Slocan Valley junction at Playmor, Thrums and the Glade area were pegged as trouble spots, along with a section seven kilometres south of Castlegar on Highway 3, the Rossland Hill, Champion Lakes and Bombay Pass.