Fatal car crash in Harrison Hot Springs

Civic crashed into car parked at breakwater lot on Rockwell Drive

An erratic, alcohol-fueled mountainside drive led to a crash that ended a life Saturday evening in Harrison Hot Springs, police say.

A 19-year-old Delta man was killed after the car he was riding in lost control and hit a parked SUV near the breakwater on Rockwell Drive. After hitting the SUV, the car hit a chain link fence and a hydro pole.

Agassiz RCMP Sgt. McCarthy said they believe alcohol and speed was definitely a factor.

“There were several witnesses,” he said, and ample evidence to proceed with drunk driver charges. The driver is also from Delta, and about 17 years old, he added. The driver and a second passenger, a 17 year old girl from Surrey, were injured seriously injured in the crash.

The trio was in a black 2007 Honda Civic Coupe, driving southbound on Rockwell at about 7:30 p.m. when they crashed. A witness told the Observer that two helicopters, four ambulance, a dozen police cars along with several accident investigators were on scene. All three were airlifted out to Royal Columbian in New Westminster.

Power in that area of Harrison was out until 4 a.m., and Rockwell Drive was closed to public until just after midnight, leaving residents in town longer than expected, and campers in the West Harrison area stuck at their campsites and recreational sites for hours.

Out of town visitors are more likely to be in traffic incidents and trouble with the police through the summer, McCarthy said. And many of those seeking to wreak havoc in Harrison’s backyard are teenagers from the lower mainland.

To help cut down the number of visitors, he works with school superintendents throughout the Vancouver area, giving out information of the dangers of throwing parties in local campgrounds.

“At this time of the year much of the activity up the lake is graduation related, but the ages range from 17 to mid 20s and beyond,” he said. “Metro Vancouver school staff have limited controls over where students travel in their off hours but we partner with schools to try to make young adults and parents as informed as possible. So often the young adults that are involved in alcohol related incidents are good kids that make bad choices with potentially fatal consequences.”

A letter that he circulates around Vancouver warns of impending charges and impounded vehicles, such as was the case in April this year when a large group of young people got out of control at a West Harrison camping area.

Drinking near the lake also increases the chances of water-related deaths, as has happened in several recent summers.

Police are patrolling the area regularly, and turning away campers and visitors once campgrounds are full, McCarthy said.


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