Fiery crash kills 2
Two men died in a fiery crash on Highway 5A approximately 45 kilometres north of Merritt on Friday after a lumber truck heading south crossed the highway’s centreline and struck a trailer carrying lime, the RCMP stated.
Flames fully engulfed each vehicle immediately after the collision at about 7 p.m.
One of the bodies was found late Friday night and the other wasn’t recovered from the burned wreckage until early Saturday.
The BC Coroners Service confirmed Tuesday the identity of one of the men — Kamloops resident Gary Joseph Miller, 59.
The name of the other driver isn’t being released until the family is notified.
RCMP Cpl. Shana Moritz said the road was in good condition.
“The roads were dry and bare...,” she said in a release. “Weather was not a factor in the crash.”
The Central Interior Traffic Services and BC Coroner Service are still investigating.
A 20 hectare nearby patch of grass caught fire after the trucks instantly burst into flames.
Crews managed to extinguish the fire Friday night.
The Kamloops Fire Centre, which includes the Merritt Fire Zone, is still in the “high to extreme” dryness ranking by the Wildfire Management Branch.
Highway authorities closed the road overnight and it was alternating single-lane from about noon Saturday. The road fully reopened at 8:15 that night.
The Merritt-Kamloops route is infamous for its high number of crashes. The road frequently winds along the rolling grassland.
The road is the Coquihalla Highway’s secondary route.