Despite a few out-of-the-ordinary collisions over the Labour Day long weekend, Staff Sgt. Bryan Clayton said the weekend was quite predictable compared to other summer weekends.
The increased traffic on highways and roadways saw 11 collisions in total, with two involving ATVs — something he said is quite unusual.
The first ATV incident reported involved one adult and two children, who were approximately 13 to 14 years of age, said Clayton. The group was visiting the Long Island Lake area when the vehicles collided head-on on Saturday, Sept. 3.
Westlock RCMP responded to the call at 5:37 p.m. in which a northbound ATV having two occupants and the southbound ATV with a single occupant collided at a curve in the road.
All occupants involved in the collision were injured and taken to hospital by ambulance. They were all wearing helmets and sustained non-life-threatening injuries. Clayton could not comment on the nature of the injuries but said all occupants have since been released from hospital.
The cause of this collision is still under investigation although alcohol is not considered to be a factor, he said.
On Sunday, Sept. 4, Westlock responded to the second collision involving ATVs. A 15-year-old female driver and her ATV were thrown into the ditch after being rear-ended by a second ATV on Range Road 10, south of Highway 18. She sustained minor injuries.
A 17-year-old driver responsible for the second ATV was charged with operating an uninsured motor vehicle on a highway, said a media release.
“I know they’re a fun vehicle to drive, but they still need to be driven with consideration that other people are out there on their own ATVs as well. There’s still an amount of care and control that needs to be exercised, especially when on Crown land,” Clayton said.
“It’s not just a private race track or private field that you own that you can more or less go to town on. When you’re operating an ATV, there are certain rules that you need to follow because there are other people out there on their ATV on that same land,” he added.
ATVs are prohibited from operating on streets, roads and highways, unless crossing from one side to the other in a direct line when safe to do so. The ditch is also considered part of the roadway, and therefore follows the same restriction. ATVs must be licenced and insured when being driven on Crown land.
Another out-of-the-ordinary event taking place over the weekend involved a 55-year-old male colliding with a horse.
At 1:10 a.m. on Sept. 5, Westlock RCMP received a call that a vehicle traveling northbound on Highway 2 had collided with a horse near Vimy.
The man, from Calgary, was driving his 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt when he saw a trio of horses on the highway. Clayton said he made efforts to avoid the horses, but ended up hitting one.
“It’s common to get complaints of stray horses and stray cows and stray animals on different highways and byways and rural roads, but rarely is a domesticated animal hit like this,” he said.
The man was transported to hospital via ambulance and his car was totaled, he said. Although the collision is still under investigation, RCMP say alcohol and driver error do not appear to be contributing factors.
Another incident reported over the long weekend, resulting in an arrest warrant being issued, was a single-vehicle collision involving a stolen truck near Jarvie.
Emergency services responded to the single-vehicle collision at 3:15 a.m. after reports of a red 2006 Ford F350 leaving Highway 44 into the west ditch before hitting an approach. It crossed the highway and continuing south along the ditch, ultimately ending up in a field. The truck was totalled.
Police say the driver, 28-year-old Chester Gladue of Calling Lake, is believed to have been under the influence of alcohol at the time of the collision. However, he was not arrested as an investigation had to be conducted to determine if he was the driver of the vehicle.
Gladue was taken to hospital with undisclosed injuries and later released. While investigating, RCMP determined that the truck Gladue was in was stolen. By the time this was discovered, Gladue had already left the hospital.
A warrant has been issued for his arrest and he is being charged with possession of a stolen vehicle.
Westlock RCMP is asking anyone with information on Gladue’s whereabouts or anyone who saw the vehicle, which has Saskatchewan plates in the Jarvie area to contact them at 780-349-4492.
Over the long weekend, there were 100 calls for service, including two for impaired driving, nine thefts, five vandalism and five assaults.