A trio of Saanich councillors are lucky to be alive after a commercial van went airborne on the Pat Bay Highway this morning and crashed into their 2005 Chevy Malibu.
Three cars were involved in the motor vehicle incident with no major injuries reported.
Coun. Vic Derman was driving the car with his wife Lorraine in the passenger seat and Couns. Colin Plant and Fred Haynes in the back seat.
The councillors were on route to the airport for a 9 a.m. departure to Winnipeg for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference.
Their car was struck a little after 7:30 a.m., while travelling north bound at the Keating X Road exit, just south of Island View Road. A south bound commercial van went airborne and crossed the median, hitting the Dermans’ Malibu on the front left wheel arch, Haynes said.
“We’re not entirely sure what the van was trying to do but it looked like it started with a poor u-turn off Keating X Road to get onto the highway,” Haynes said. “Then it clipped a trailer truck and did a 180 and went airborne over the meridian. Vic was within inches of losing his life. A few more feet and we would have all been killed. Vic was touched by an angel.”
Haynes said Derman saved everyone’s life when he eased the car to the right just sat the van was about to hit them.
“There was no time, it was a flash in our eye,” Haynes said.
The Dermans, Plant and Haynes all went to the Saanich Peninsula Hospital. Derman suffered heavy bruising, the most of anyone in the car, when the door crushed into him. All the air bags were deployed and Plant and Haynes also suffered bruising in the back seat.
Lorraine Derman was going to drop the councillors off at the airport and drive the car home.
Mike Rodgers was driving a one-tonne flat truck north bound when the Malibu came swerving into their lane.
“We were driving right beside [the Malibu] toward [North Saanich] when we saw the commercial van trying to pull a u-turn to go to south, I think. It hit a semi, did a full 180, then it seemed like he stepped on the gas because it started going really fast and went over the meridian, don’t know how that happens,” Rodgers said. “Maybe he blacked out or something, he was going a lot faster than he should have [after hitting the semi]. The [van] hit the [Malibu], which hit us on a diagonal, bounced up on to us, and pushed us [so far that] we were lucky not to go over the [steep] edge there.”
Rodgers and his co-worker were okay, he said.
It is unknown when the councillors will be able to fly to Winnipeg for the FCM conference, June 2 to 5.
The conference has a Saanich motion on the floor about affordable, co-operative housing.
This story was updated to add additional details.