A driver and passenger are dead after a head-on collision after fleeing from police while driving the wrong way in the eastbound lanes on Highway 1 in Chilliwack on Dec. 29, 2020. The driver of the vehicle that was struck later died at Royal Columbian Hospital. (Shane MacKichan photo)

A driver and passenger are dead after a head-on collision after fleeing from police while driving the wrong way in the eastbound lanes on Highway 1 in Chilliwack on Dec. 29, 2020. The driver of the vehicle that was struck later died at Royal Columbian Hospital. (Shane MacKichan photo)

UPDATE: Three now dead after RCMP try to stop vehicle heading wrong way on Highway 1 in Chilliwack

Correctional officer struck by two fleeing police has died in hospital; police watchdog investigating

Tuesday’s head-on collision on Highway 1 in Chilliwack has claimed a third life.

Colleagues of an employee of Mountain Institution in Agassiz posted images of a Correctional Service of Canada badge with a black ribbon across it and expressed condolences online.

“Tragically the Correctional officer involved in a car crash earlier today has died in hospital,” read one Tweet. “He was from Mountain institution Pacific region Correctional Service of Canada. RIP”

The crash at approximately 4 a.m. on Tuesday (Dec. 29) killed the driver and passenger of the vehicle travelling westbound in the eastbound lanes when they collided with the officer near Lickman Road.

The driver of that vehicle was fleeing police, according to the RCMP, which triggered an investigation by the Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia (IIO), a watchdog agency of police actions.

A press release issued by the IIO on Wednesday confirmed the death of the third individual.

The incident started when police received a report of a vehicle travelling the wrong way on the freeway near Laidlaw, which is more than 40 kilometres away from Lickman Road. A Chilliwack Mountie spotted and followed the suspect vehicle near Annis Road at the eastern edge of Chilliwack.

Another officer set up a spike-belt, but the driver evaded it and continued on to Lickman, eventually colliding head-on with another vehicle. A fire resulted, which officers weren’t able to extinguish. They got one person out, who was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

The driver and a passenger in the suspect vehicle died at the scene.

A source told The Chilliwack Progress that the victim was a correctional officer on his way to work. He was initially reported to be in critical condition at Royal Columbian Hospital, having suffered internal bleeding, broken legs and head trauma.

Nothing further official has been released by the RCMP because the file is in the hands of IIO.

Fraser Valley Traffic Services, assisted by the RCMP’s Lower Mainland Integrated Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Service (ICARS), were on the scene investigating, and the lanes were closed for several hours.

IIO will investigate to determine whether police actions are linked to the deaths.

– with files from Paul Henderson

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A driver and passenger are dead after a head-on collision after fleeing from police while driving the wrong way in the eastbound lanes on Highway 1 in Chilliwack on Dec. 29, 2020. The driver of the vehicle that was struck later died at Royal Columbian Hospital. (Shane MacKichan photo)

A driver and passenger are dead after a head-on collision after fleeing from police while driving the wrong way in the eastbound lanes on Highway 1 in Chilliwack on Dec. 29, 2020. The driver of the vehicle that was struck later died at Royal Columbian Hospital. (Shane MacKichan photo)