Two people are dead following a single-vehicle collision with a moose late on Aug. 17 on Highway 18 just west of Rossington.
The collision took place around 10:20 p.m., said Westlock RCMP Cpl. Dave Casey. A 2001 Chevrolet Malibu carrying a 38-year-old female driver and a 17-year-old male passenger was travelling west and had just passed the Rossington bridge when it struck the moose. Both victims were from the Gunn area.
“The vehicle was travelling westbound on the highway,” Casey said. “The moose came out from the ditch … and the car struck the moose. The force of the impact took the roof right off the car.”
After the collision, the car continued west into the ditch on the south side of the highway before coming to a stop. The car’s roof and the moose ended up on the north side of the road.
Casey said a passerby saw the car come to a stop and notified police and emergency services. When paramedics arrived, the two occupants were pronounced dead at the scene.
The names of the deceased have not been released.
Both occupants were wearing their seatbelts, Casey said. In addition, alcohol was not a factor.
He also said there were no brake marks left on the road, so the speed the car was travelling is unknown, but there were no reports of erratic driving on the highway leading up to the collision.
Although such an incident is always tragic, Casey said it’s something that is not uncommon in rural Alberta.
“Unfortunately in our area we deal with a lot of either deer or moose,” he said. “And unfortunately, when you hit something the size of a moose … because of their size, you take out the legs and the body comes directly through the windshield.”
In order to avoid hitting an animal while driving, Casey said it’s important to remember that animals move around more at night. He also said that because the sides of the roads can be much darker than the road itself, it’s necessary to watch for animals that may suddenly jump in front of your car.
Furthermore, he said to be aware of how tired you may be behind the wheel.
“If you’re feeling tired, pull over and take a break … especially if you’re driving a long way,” he said.