A municipal worker has died after being struck by a vehicle in Oak Bay.
Oak Bay police say they’re investigating the “serious motor vehicle crash” that happened around 8 a.m. Wednesday in the 1700-block of Monterey Avenue.
Jim Harker, who lives nearby, tells CHEK News that he heard a “huge thud” outside his home. When he went outside, he saw that a driver had crashed into a tree.
Municipal workers were looking down a manhole when one of them began “screaming bloody murder for help from the fire department,” according to Harker.
In a news release, Oak Bay police say the municipal employee, a 52-year-old man, was inspecting a manhole cover in a park when the driver of an SUV heading northbound left the road and struck him.
“Tragically, the man was pronounced deceased at the scene,” police said in the release. “The driver of the vehicle, a black SUV, was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.”
CHEK News has learned that the man was a married father of two young children.
Meanwhile, Oak Bay Police Chief Mark Fisher says the driver, a 66-year-old woman and resident of Victoria, was driving at a high rate of speed. The stretch of Monterey Avenue has a speed limit of 30 km/h.
“The male is deceased because of it,” said Fisher.
“On the face of it, it seems very senseless. It’s disturbing, it’s frustrating, and it’s upsetting to, I’m sure, all members of the community.”
Officers from Saanich Police are also on scene investigating the collision, Oak Bay Police said in a tweet around 10:40 a.m.
In the tweet, the detachment said Monterey Avenue between Cranmore Street and Oak Bay Avenue would be closed for “several hours.”
The BC Coroners Service was also on scene when CHEK News arrived.
“This is such a shock,” said Oak Bay Mayor Kevin Murdoch in an interview Wednesday afternoon.
“We’re pretty devastated here to lose one of ours. Our thoughts right now are really with his family and his coworkers and friends,” he added. “He was a fairly new employee with Oak Bay and working in a place…anyone would think would be safe.
“A shocker of a motor vehicle accident, really.”
Saanich Police are assisting in this investigation and are asking anyone that saw the black SUV prior to the collision this morning at 8 am, or has dash cam or other video, to email [email protected]
— Oak Bay Police (@OakBayPolice) May 17, 2023
Earlier Wednesday, BC Transit also took to Twitter around 8:45 a.m. to warn transit-goers in the area that local buses were operating on a detour.
#YYJ #RiderAlert – Due to an MVI on Monterey, the buses are on the following detour:
5 Willows: from Oak Bay Ave, left Hampshire, right Cranmore, left St. Anne.
5 James Bay: from St. Anne, right Cranmore, left Hampshire, right Oak Bay Ave.
Thanks for your patience!
— BC Transit – Victoria (@victoriatransit) May 17, 2023
The collision comes amid Road Safety at Work‘s Cone Zone campaign, which launched Monday and urges drivers “to remember that their decisions in work zones affect the lives of many people: themselves, their passengers, and roadside workers,” states a news release.
“(Twelve) roadside workers were hit by a vehicle and killed in B.C. over the last decade, and 221 were injured seriously enough to have to take time off work,” according to Road Safety at Work.
A GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up for the family of the man who died. More than $3,000 was raised by 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, with organizer Pat Smith saying: “Any and all donations are appreciated.”
The collision remains under investigation, and anyone with information about the incident, including witnesses and those with dashcam or home security footage of the SUV, is asked to email Saanich Police at [email protected].
Just after 8 a.m., Jim Harker heard a huge thud outside his Oak Bay home, came out to see a driver crashed into a tree. (Photo submitted anonymously by a witness).
Harker said municipal street workers were prepping to do street work, looking down into a manhole. @CHEK_News pic.twitter.com/RXfweWU3Sm
— Kori Sidaway (@korisidaway) May 17, 2023