Dashcam footage recorded on the Trans-Canada Highway Thursday evening shows the moment a Comox Fire Rescue vehicle crashed into a median and flipped over. The collision occurred in the northbound lanes of the Trans-Canada Highway near Helmcken Road just before 5 p.m. It shut down the Trans-Canada Highway for more than an hour. Neil Fahlman was driving the vehicle that captured the dramatic video. “The guy kind of seemed to be doing the nod at the wheel sort of thing so I followed him through the light,” said Fahlman. “On the other side he kind of gained speed rapidly and I was like ‘something’s not really right’ so kinda kept close to him.” Within seconds, the Comox Fire vehicle began to swerve and went completely off the asphalt to the right in a construction zone. It then overcorrects at high speed and smashes head on into the concrete barrier separating the north and southbound lanes. Fahlman and other drivers got out of their vehicles to help the people in the truck that was on its side. Comox Fire Chief Gord Schreiner said two members of his team, Assistant Fire Chief Jim Lariviere, Capt. Corey Brooks and Hornby Island Fire Chief Doug Chinnery were in the vehicle and were returning from a conference in Victoria. According to Schreiner, Brooks, who was driving suffered a medical emergency, and blacked out at the wheel. Lariviere then grabbed the steering wheel and tried to gain control of the truck but Brooks still had his foot on the gas pedal and the truck crashed into the centre median.
“Under amazing circumstances and trying circumstances he was able to do a good job,” said Comox Fire Captain Rob Stevens. “It looks spectacular on video but that is actually a pretty good outcome.” At the Comox Fire Hall Friday, there was a huge sigh of relief and calls of concern coming in from across the country. “It scares the hell out of you,” said Comox Fire Lt. Sandy Pridmore. “It really does when you see that and thank god everybody’s OK.” All three people in the vehicle were taken to hospital. Two were released while the driver was observed overnight. All of the lanes on the highway fully opened about two hours after the collision. However, traffic delays continued for several hours.