Investigation continues into fatal collision between SUV and tractor trailer
By Jaymie White
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
ROBINSONS – On Monday morning, Jun. 13, a collision took place on the Trans-Canada Highway near the Robinsons turn off which claimed the life of a 72-year-old woman.
When emergency services arrived on scene, both lanes of the highway were closed off with traffic rerouted eastbound through Route 405, Saint David’s/Saint Fintan’s, and westbound through Route 404, Robinsons, until clean up from the collision was completed just after 9:00 p.m. that same day.
Shane Hulan, Chief of the Bay St. George South Volunteer Fire Department said the call originally came in from multiple sources the morning of the collision.
“Basically, the call came in from one of our EMR workers, because initially the call had come in through two different sources and it was kind of mangled together. So he called back and explained what he had been told through his dispatch and he was told there was a semi truck head-on collision near Route 404, and there was a man stuck inside a truck, which was on fire, and they weren’t sure how many people were in the SUV.”
Hulan said their department dispatched multiple vehicles, and other detachments were called in to assist.
“There was the tanker truck, our rescue truck and six firefighters and Stephenville Crossing ended up getting called and St. George’s came out with the Jaws of Life and four firefighters to help get the lady out of her vehicle because, when the firefighters arrived on scene, she wasn’t responsive then, so their attentions were mostly focused on the truck that was on fire.”
Hulan arrived a short time after his crew of firefighters.
“When the boys got there, the truck was fully engulfed. She had been burning for a bit already. They said there was three RCMP officers already there, so they checked what was needed. The man was already out of the truck. He was no longer stuck. I guess the EMR workers got him out and, after that, they went over and checked the lady, covered her up with a blanket, and then they focused on trying to get the fire out that was burning with the tractor trailer. There was a lot of black smoke and tires were popping; the usual stuff.”
Hulan said the fire was under control in about an hour.
“The big thing was, when it comes to tractor trailer fires and stuff like that, there’s so much rubber and so many chemicals and stuff, so it’s hard to get. You hit it with the foam and it’s got a tendency to flare back up. They pretty much stayed there until, I believe it was around 5:00 p.m., when they said the fire department could leave because they were no longer needed.”
Nancy Anstey, who lives in Robinsons and witnessed the accident on her way home, said she could see something serious had taken place when she noticed the smoke but wasn’t exactly sure what it was at first.
“I am a school bus driver and as I was coming home from my morning drop off at the school, I could see a big plume of black smoke. We live five houses in on Robinsons Main Road I thought maybe it was one of my neighbours’ house or even our house. I came to the turn on Robinsons 404. I pulled over my bus and I shot a couple pictures. I could see two semis on the bridge, and one was on fire. I guess there was an SUV involved but I didn’t see that vehicle. The police were already there. Fire trucks came shortly after. As far as I know, it appeared to be an extremely violent accident with the amount of black smoke and flames. You could see the flames.”
The RCMP issued the following statement later that same day.
“A 72-year-old woman is deceased following a serious collision between a tractor trailer and a SUV that occurred this morning on the Trans-Canada Highway (TCH) near Robinsons.
“Shortly after 9:00 a.m., police received the report of the collision. A tractor trailer and a SUV collided near the Robinson’s River bridge on the TCH. The lone occupant of the SUV died on the scene. The driver of the tractor trailer was transported to the Sir Thomas Roddick Hospital in Stephenville with injuries.
“A Traffic Analyst with RCMP Traffic Services attended the scene. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is engaged, and the investigation is continuing.”