Pickup truck involved in fatal highway crash was stolen

Police believe the man was unconscious as vehicle became engulfed in flames

Emergency crews responded to a fatal collision on the Pacific Rim Highway around 4:30 p.m. on Monday.

Police have confirmed that the truck involved in Monday’s fatal highway crash near Ucluelet had been stolen in Nanaimo on Sunday.

A man was driving the stolen 1994 red Nissan pickup truck south along the Pacific Rim Highway on Nov. 23 when he crossed over the centre line and smashed into an oncoming motorhome, according to Sgt. Jeff Swann of the Ucluelet RCMP.

Both vehicles caught fire shortly after the collision and bystanders were unable to free the man from the truck before it became engulfed in flames.

The motorhome’s two occupants escaped the scene with no life-threatening injuries.

Swann told the Westerly News on Thursday that RCMP and the BC Coroners Service have not yet been able to identify the deceased.

“The damage to his body was very extensive as a result of the fire,” Swann said.

“The next part of the investigation is a CT scan to try to see if there’s a metal plate in his knee or a screw in his ankle that all have coding on them and a unique number we can use to identify who it is.”

Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the deceased and anyone with any information is encouraged to contact the Ucluelet RCMP detachment at 250-726-7773.

“Someone is missing a loved one and we want to notify them as soon as we can,” Swann said.

“We are obviously not interested in pursuing charges against anybody. What we want is to get this to a resolution and find out who it was so we can notify their loved ones.”

Swann said reports from witnesses at the scene suggest the man was unconscious when flames engulfed the vehicle.

“We do have an indication that the driver was unconscious prior to the fire starting,” Swann said.

“It’s tragic and you hope they’re at least not in pain while that fire is happening; all the indications are that he was unconscious.”

 

Andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca