Re: Median barriers to be installed on Highway 97 between Penticton and Summerland:
We have experienced this hazardous location personally in a fatal crash with multiple injuries, including us personally as well numerous kids in a school bus back in the summer of 2011. My Name is John Watt. My wife is Olympic swimmer, Hall of Famer and Order of Canada recipient Elaine Tanner.
We were in the third car on that fatal day in June 2011. It’s about bloody time they finally did this.
I emailed the ministry and went public after that accident that could have killed a lot of people. Having said that, I applaud the ministry for finally acting.
I have no doubt this will save lives.
Our question is why did it have to take so long? Almost 10 years and others have lost their lives. This just shows another example of how, even with multiple deaths and public outcry, long it really takes the government and bureaucracy to actually act and deliver for the people they are supposed to serve.
Reflecting back, I cannot help but think of John Borda and his family today. The 47-year-old man I sadly had to personally witness die.
In addition, all the panic of those high school kids as well the driver inside that bus was just horrific. Before even any of the first responders arrived, those moments alone running around eye witnessing all this will be with me for life.
Elaine and I and I’m sure all of those people personally involved in this fatal accident, even the first responders, will never get over those dramatic visions.
The heavy dark choking smoke and flames, the blood, the panic seemed to last for hours, but happened within just minutes.
We were all alone surrounded with chaos before help finally arrived. That period of time I will never forget.
Reading Friday’s news story about the medians, Elaine and I still have flashbacks to that moment when we almost lost our own lives. RCMP investigators could not believe how we both escaped death that day. We were in shock.
Ironically we are in Kelowna and Penticton on a holiday as we read about the barriers. Leaving Kelowna Friday for an overnight stay in Penticton will certainly feel tense and with very sad memories, especially as we think about John Borda and his family, but also on the flip side feel so fortunate to both be here living with lots of gratitude.
A shout out to all the people who made this happen — Dan Ashton MLA, the Ministry of Transporta-tion and Infrastructure, the local print, radio and TV media who interviewed me and helped exposed this deadly stretch of highway for many many years.
This all helped to create this positive step. Now they need to extend it to other areas.
John Watt, South Delta