EDITORIAL: Answers needed in highway crash

A Vancouver woman died last weekend, 12 days after her Honda veered off of Highway 99, crashed through a steel barrier and plunged into the Serpentine River.

There is no question the incident was a tragedy, although – as in any situation where a person is killed before their time – the word somehow seems not strong enough to capture the reality of the loss.

Police announced her death Wednesday, along with news that investigators will be recommending charges against a second driver in connection with the crash.

Specifics of that information – including details of how the crash unfolded – will remain under wraps until charges are formalized, police said.

It remains to be seen if those details will answer questions many are asking, among them:

• Why did the highway’s steel barriers not prevent the woman’s car from driving off the bridge? If speed, alcohol and aggressive driving were ruled out as contributing factors, are the barriers not to a standard capable of sustaining a highway-speed impact?

• Why did it take 90 minutes to locate and rescue the driver? Were response and rescue protocols followed and, if so, are there any steps that could be taken to boost the outcome of a similar situation in the future?

None of the answers – regardless of how detailed, researched or sincere – will bring the woman back to her family. But they could serve to help prevent another family from experiencing similar devastation.

It must be noted her family members, though hardest hit, are not the only ones impacted by her death.

About two dozen emergency personnel responded to the scene to help search, extricate and resuscitate the victim. While their jobs on a daily basis are about dealing with tragedy, it does not come without a toll.

And then there are those who will help her family through; her friends and colleagues; even those, when reading or hearing of what transpired, who are reminded of their own losses.

As Cpl. Aaron Sproule said, “the impact is huge.”

To afford some logic to a seemingly senseless death, something good must come of it. There must be answers.

– Peace Arch News