The family of the driver killed in a cement truck crash near Campbell River says he was incredibly skilled behind the wheel.

Sixty-nine-year-old Donald Wayne Wilkinson was behind the wheel on November 4, when his fully loaded cement truck drove off a steep embankment on Westmin Road and into Buttle Lake.

Stepdaughter Micky Fleming says it has left them wondering how it could have happened.

“He has a certificate recognizing 200,000 hours of driving without an accident in a concrete truck, if he was going to be working the following day he wouldn’t even have a beer the night before… extremely conscientious,” she said.

“We’ll never know… we’ll never know.”

The truck was on its way to the Myra Falls Mine when it went off the road. News of the crash hit one unsuspecting family member.

“At 10:45 the first aid attendant, my brother, received the call on Westmin radio phone that there was a truck that had gone off Westmin [Road] just south of Lupin Falls, we didn’t know, he didn’t know at the time,” said Flemming,

When Wilkinson didn’t show up on-site, and after they found his name on the truck logs, they were devastated.

After a few days, crews were able to retrieve the truck and his body, but there are no signs as to what happened. He was likely unconscious and drowned.

Fleming says it could have been as simple as swerving to avoid someone, but she suspects an eroding shoulder may have been the major factor.

“There was no shoulder… we looked, it was inches… no room for error, none whatsoever,” she said.

‘The road definitely needs maintenance, there is no doubt about that, it’s carrying big vehicles, heavy vehicles, men’s lives are at stake.”

The family says Campbell River and the trucking community has been extremely supportive in a difficult time.

Even though answers may never come, they are remembering him as an amazing husband, incredibly kind and hardworking.

“He treated [his wife] like a princess… he didn’t have a mean bone in his body, he was kind and patient, always willing to help,” said Fleming.

“[He] retired for a little but didn’t like being retired like being active…  we are going to miss him, miss him a lot.”

Julian Kolsut