WATCH: A highway crash south of Nanaimo has left two men dead and B.C.’s police watchdog investigating. Skye Ryan reports.
Family members have identified one of the victims of a fatal crash on the Trans-Canada Highway south of Nanaimo early Monday morning.
The Independent Investigations Office of BC, which is investigating the crash, said in a release Monday afternoon it is trying to determine whether police actions or inactions are linked to the deaths of both drivers in the head-on collision of two vehicles.
The release said at around 12:41 a.m., a Nanaimo RCMP officer in a marked patrol vehicle attempted to stop a white pickup truck.
Nanaimo RCMP said the officer saw the white, GMC pickup truck leaving a residence in the Harewood Area near Tenth Street. Police said the officer tried to conduct a traffic stop with the pickup, but the driver allegedly failed to stop and continued on the Trans-Canada Highway.
The IIO said the vehicle was last seen heading southbound in the northbound lane of Highway 1.
The pickup truck was then involved in a head-on collision with a red SUV, with both located in the northbound lane, between Cedar Road and Duke Point. Both drivers were pronounced dead at the scene. No one else was involved in the crash, IIO said.
The identities of the two male drivers have not been released by police. However, family has confirmed the driver of the red SUV is Cliff Bishop, 54. He was originally from Newfoundland but was residing in Cassidy with his wife. He was a long-haul trucker and he drove together with his wife and he just received a certificate last year for being a safe and responsible trucker. The couple lost their son in an accident last year.
The crash shut down the northbound lanes of Highway 1 between the Duke Point and Cedar Road exit for several hours.
The northbound lanes reopened just after 11 a.m.
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The BC Coroners Service confirmed it is also investigating the two deaths.
The IIO said the Nanaimo RCMP Traffic Unit and RCMP Integrated Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Services (ICARS) is also conducting an investigation into the crash.
Anyone with information is asked contact Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. Witnesses who saw the collision or may have dashcam footage of the pickup truck on Highway 1 are also asked to call the IIO witness line at 1-855-446-8477.
The IIO is the independent civilian oversight agency of the police in British Columbia. It investigates all officer-related incidents that result in serious harm or death, whether or not there is any allegation of wrongdoing.