Black ice and poor visibility on Friday caused several highway crashes, one of them killing a trucker near Princeton.
Dense fog and an icy highway led to the fatal smash-up, say RCMP. The 50-year-old driver was operating a tractor-trailer unit on Highway 3 when he lost control about 5:30 a.m. Friday at Bromley Rock, 26 kilometres east of Princeton.
The semi slid off the road and crashed head-on into the ditch, killing the driver instantly. The overturned trailer blocked both lanes, forcing traffic to take a long detour along Old Hedley Road for at least eight hours.
The driver was from the Lower Mainland and the truck was operated by an LMD transport company.
On the Okanagan Connector, a pickup driver slid on an icy patch and slammed into a fire truck that had stopped on the highway near an earlier accident Friday morning.
Firefighters and Mounties were on or close to the highway about 20 kilometres west of Peachland.
The engine was parked in the slow eastbound lane as crews rescued a man and woman from an SUV that had flipped into the ditch.
The half-ton pickup was heading downhill in the eastbound lane and collided with the back of the fire engine. The driver realized the obstruction too late and lost control on the slippery pavement.
"It was a very, very close call with guys on the road," said Capt. Bob Peters of West Kelowna Fire Rescue. "Shoulder season catches people by surprise - not driving to conditions that could be out there . . .
"It's black ice. You can barely stand up on the road."
The driver was pinned in the truck and firefighters had to extricate him. He was taken to Kelowna General Hospital and appeared to be in stable condition, said Peters.
The man and woman were heading to Kelowna in the SUV when they lost control and drove off the highway. They were not badly hurt, Peters said.
Highway driving should remain treacherous this weekend. Environment Canada is projecting drizzle on the Valley bottom, which can mean icy conditions at higher elevations. Fog patches are forecast for this morning.
"Even if it's sunny and it looks dry, as you get into the Valley, be aware frost builds up in the shadows. And if you see a rescue vehicle, slow way down," Peters said.