Two vehicles collided at the West Coast junction on Sunday afternoon when an Alberni-bound driver traveling from Tofino misjudged the amount of time they had to turn left and steered into the path of a northbound vehicle.
Both vehicles had multiple passengers and everyone escaped the situation without significant injuries, according to Const. Marcel Midlane of the Ucluelet RCMP. The crash occurred around 11:45 a.m.
The B.C. Ambulance Service attended and checked everyone out and the Ucluelet Volunteer Fire Brigade helped direct traffic around the crash site. Both vehicles were towed from the scene.
“It’s kind of a confusing intersection for some people who aren’t from here,” Midlane said adding the driver of the left-turning vehicle was from out of town.
“We always urge people to slow down, take their time, make good decisions and be cognizant of what’s surrounding them on the road. That’s important for everybody’s safety.”
He said speed was not a factor in the collision.
“It was more of a judgement error than anything else and the driver of the vehicle that was turning was issued a violation ticket for failing to yield while making a left turn,” he said.
That ticket cost the driver $167.
Area resident Donna Karen was in the northbound vehicle along with her father and boyfriend and the three were surprised when the southbound vehicle turned left in front of them.
“We thought they would stop, wait the three seconds until clear and then turn left,” she told the Westerly News in an email. “We had no stop sign. Maybe they thought we would be going east to Port as well…Luckily we were not going fast.”
She said it was the first time she had seen an airbag deploy.
“My father said he didn’t touch it…seat belt kept him back, but it made his cowboy hat turn sideways,” she said. “The smell of the powder that comes out of the air bags smell terrible. My asthma acted up and my adrenaline was running high for the first 3-4 mins.”
She added she was “so thankful that no one was hurt,” though seatbelt abrasions caused some bruises.
“It felt like a bad dream and I was not myself all day,” she said. “Sure makes me think of life… and dreams about my future.”
She said she had considered bringing her dog Blu along for the ride and felt fortunate that she’d decided against it.
“I don’t have a doggy seat belt for him. I’m so glad I left our dog home,” she said.
She believes her car was damaged beyond repair.
“My Mitsubishi Mirage is replaceable, but my family isn’t,” she said. “Buckle up everyone.”