Overdosing driver shuts down Surrey highway, third suspected case in a week
VANCOUVER -- CTV News Vancouver has learned that a head-on collision that shut down a busy Surrey intersection during Friday’s afternoon rush hour is the third suspected overdose behind the wheel in that city this week alone.
Shorty after the crash happened around 4:30, Mounties described it as serious and urged drivers to stay away from the area in Newton if possible -- but Friday evening they said early indications are the man behind the wheel of a white Jeep “went unresponsive” and smashed into a vehicle in the oncoming lane.
Surrey RCMP say the man was in cardiac arrest and an off-duty Mountie who happened to be nearby performed CPR before Emergency Health Services arrived. Paramedics administered two doses of Narcan, an opioid antidote; investigators found drug paraphernalia in his vehicle.
The man survived the crash, that left both vehicles with heavy damage, and Mounties arrested him for driving while impaired and they say charges are pending. Traffic was snarled in the area for hours in an area notorious for serious and even fatal crashes.
On Friday morning, Surrey RCMP had issued a press release on two unrelated incidents where drivers were believed to be under the influence of drugs within 24 hours of each other earlier in the week, one of them also resulting in a minor crash into oncoming traffic.
Around 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 25, a man veered into oncoming traffic and responding Mounties said he was impaired by drugs and drug paraphernalia with residue was in the vehicle. He was arrested and given a 24-hour driving prohibition before being released.
“Sadly, it’s not unusual for us to do impaired investigations, several in a day in fact, but this was a little bit different -- something that the public doesn’t have a lot of awareness about,” said Cpl. Elenore Sturko. “We have been seeing more and more incidents where we have been seeing people impaired by drugs. And in this circumstance we have two incidents which occurred in a relatively short period of time, just under 24 hours apart, where we suspect the use of hard drugs.”
On Jan 26. around 6:00 p.m., Mounties responded to a call about two people passed out in a running vehicle and found a man and woman with drugs, a handgun, hundreds of dollars and open alcohol. The man was charged with impaired driving and unauthorized possession of a firearm.
“We just want the public to be aware that this is going on -- sadly, drug users within all the communities within the Lower Mainland transcend different areas of the community,” said Sturko. “If you suspect that you see an impaired driver behind the wheel, we urge you to call 911. And if you are someone suffering from an addiction, and you are using drugs, please do not drive.”