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Winter mayhem on slick valley streets

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RCMP Const. Mac McCall photographs the scene of an accident near Crystal Waters on Highway 97 on Monday.
Icy roads caused traffic mayhem Monday afternoon, sending cars spinning into the ditch and colliding with each other.
Police blocked Boucherie Road, Gordon Drive, KLO Road, Lakeshore and other major arteries for more than an hour as tow trucks hauled vehicles out of the ditch and sanding trucks spread gravel and salt on the slippery slopes.
Steep sections were the most challenging to navigate. Emergency crews watched helplessly as vehicles slid sideways downhill with no braking ability toward Highway 97 in West Kelowna.
A city bus got stuck on the crest of a hill on south Gordon Drive, blocking traffic behind it. The driver eventually got enough grip under the tires to leave the area, opening up the route at 4 p.m.
There were numerous fender benders but no serious injuries reported as the first day of slippery roads ushered in the winter driving season. At least two school buses drove off Hudson Road in West Kelowna but no kids were hurt. A car hit a garbage truck; the airbag deployed and the driver was fine.
A truck hit a cyclist near Rutland Middle School shortly before 3 p.m. Spiers Road was closed, as were Dehart, Casorso and Bedford roads.
The chaos began after 1 p.m. A light covering of snow forced crews to shut down the hills on Boucherie Road near the highway and at Green Bay Road. One firefighter reported 14 vehicles off the road near Quail's Gate winery.
A three-vehicle crash was reported at Green Bay Road after
5 p.m.
Collisions were plentiful on Highway 97 between Kelowna and Vernon, the Okanagan Connector, on Guisachan Road. Traffic was blocked at Ridge Estates Drive, Elk Road, Hudson Road, Anders Road and Douglas Road in West Kelowna.
Gordon Drive was like a toboggan run, say witnesses. Traffic was stopped at Paret Crescent and Steele Road. Police set up a roadblock near the bottom of the hill at McLure Road.

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