The big snowstorm of Oct. 8 did more than snap off a few tree branches. It more than likely contributed to a fatal crash on Hwy. 2 southeast of Slave Lake.
Two trucks collided early that morning, about 35 kilometres east of town, RCMP reported. They ended up in opposite ditches. The 53-year-old driver of one of the vehicles was pronounced dead at the scene. Police have not released his name, but word is he was a manager at one of the forest products mills near Slave Lake.
Conditions were truly horrible at the time, both on the road and in the air, as far as visibility was concerned. The blizzard of wet, heavy snow turned out to be quite a local phenomenon, with Slave Lake and areas east and west (but not too far) getting the worst of it. In spots it was nearly a foot deep, whereas 30 kilometres to the north it was about a quarter of that, and also much less in High Prairie. Edmonton reportedly got little or none. The scene of the crash, apparently, was in the middle of it. RCMP were advising motorists that morning to stay off the highways unless absolutely necessary.
The highway was closed for several hours as a result of the accident and its investigation.
The results of that investigation have not been released, but Slave Lake RCMP Sgt. Marlene Brown says (in an email to The Leader) that it “would be quite safe to say road conditions factored in the collision.” Other conclusions are in the hands of the RCMP collision analyst.
The collision happened about three kilometres east of the Saulteaux River bridge. It’s a relatively straight, relatively flat section of highway that for reasons unknown has seen more than its share of bad collisions in the last year or so. Two people died in 2016 when one transport truck left the highway at exactly the same spot as another had a few hours earlier. Earlier this year, two big trucks collided just east of the Saulteaux, resulting in a fireball explosion and one man hurt.