Coquihalla reopens after fatal semi-trailer crash

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Merritt RCMP say one man is dead after a semi-tractor trailer collided with the rear of another travelling in the same direction but at a much slower speed late Wednesday.
Merritt RCMP say one man is dead after a semi-tractor trailer collided with the rear of another travelling in the same direction but at a much slower speed late Wednesday.

(DriveBC.ca - image credit)

Merritt RCMP say one man was killed after being ejected from the cab of a tractor-trailer that was overtaking another on the Coquithalla Highway Wednesday afternoon.

According to a police statement Thursday, the crash happened at approximately 4 p.m, about four kilometres south of Merritt when one commercial truck collided with the rear of another.

Witnesses at the scene told RCMP both semi-trailer units were travelling in the southbound lanes of Highway 5, climbing a hill, when the collision happened.

According to the witnesses, the tractor-trailer hit from behind was traveling in the right hand lane at a relatively low speed when the other driver attempted to overtake it.

The 38-year-old co-driver was in the sleeper cabin of the truck approaching from behind and was ejected from the cabin, according to the police statement.

Police described the damage to the passenger side of the overtaking truck as "catastrophic."

Both drivers tried to revive the man but he died at the scene, the statement said.

The highway was closed overnight for the investigation but reopened early Thursday morning, it said.

Anyone who might have witnessed the crash or who has dashcam video of the incident is asked to call Merritt RCMP at 250-378-4262.