Police seek witnesses to fatal weekend accident

Wayne Kernachan was struck by a vehicle while responding to an accident

Police are looking for witnesses to a deadly motor vehicle accident on Highway 22 south of Castlegar Saturday.

They are also clarifying their timeline of events that led to the death of the 51-year-old Castlegar man, who they now say was a tow truck driver responding to an earlier accident.

Sgt. Chad Badry of the RCMP’s West Kootenay Traffic Services division said Monday that police were dispatched after a collision between a small Nissan car and a deer just after 5:30 p.m.

The accident happened on the highway between Pipeline Pit Road and Minto Road.

“Police arrived on scene, and shortly thereafter discovered there was a second collision with a pedestrian and a vehicle that was driving past,” said Badry. “It was later learned it was the operator of a tow truck that was hit by a passing vehicle.”

The tow truck driver was taken to hospital and pronounced dead, he said.

While police did not identify the victim, postings on social media from friends, family and his workplace said it was Wayne Kernachan. He was the owner of Keegz South Country Towing of Genelle.

Police are now looking for witnesses to both accidents and are assisting the coroner’s office with their investigation.

Badry said drivers should slow down around emergency road crews.

“The tow truck was pulled off to the side of the road, near the collision, and had his overhead lights on which, of course, makes it an official vehicle,” said Badry. “Which means in that particular zone drivers have to slow down to 70 kilometres an hour and move over as much as they can.”

Badry said it’s too early to say if any charges will be laid as a result of the accident. The driver who hit Kernachan stopped after the accident and is co-operating with police.

The accident closed the highway for about seven hours as police investigators combed the scene for clues to what happened.

“We’re still trying to figure out what happened,” he said. “We are soliciting for any witnesses who may have seen either of the collisions or have any information relating to it to contact us.”

The West Kootenay Traffic Services division can be reached at 250-354-5180.

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