PORT McNEILL—A single-vehicle accident Monday morning sent a Port McNeill woman to hospital for treatment and observation and left Highway 19 closed briefly.
Shelley Dmetrichuk was driving northbound on Hwy. 19 when her compact sedan hit an icy patch on a sweeping curve just before the Cluxewe River bridge. The car slid down the banked roadway and across the southbound lane, then bounced over a curb. Spinning around in a 180-degree turn, the car continued down a shallow, 15-meter slope before dropping suddenly off an embankment, rolling once and shearing off an alder tree before coming to rest on its wheels three metres below the lip of the bank.
“She’s got a nasty bump on the head, and they’re checking her over,” Craig Dmetrichuk, Shelley’s husband, said as he stood next to the ambulance with the couple’s son, Adam, at the Cluxewe Resort Road turnoff. “It looks like she’ll be OK.”
Andy Yaschuk of Landon Collision had affixed a tow chain to the vehicle, but had to wait for a second tow truck and winch to haul the car out of the low depression. After borrowing a chainsaw from Adam Dmetrichuk to saw away a couple of alders, Yaschuk and Donnie Lawrence were able to winch the sedan back up the hill and onto the roadbed where Yaschuk could load it onto his truck’s flatbed.
After letting the ambulance pass to transport Shelley Dmetrichuk to Port McNeill, RCMP officers blocked traffic in both directions while the car was winched to the road and loaded for transport.
Yaschuk said the accident followed a similar crash two days earlier on Hwy. 19 just north of the Hwy. 30 junction to Port Alice, in which a truck left the roadway and rolled.
RCMP and DriveBC both urge motorists to exercise extreme caution on the roads, particularly during periods of overnight freezing followed by daytime thaw.