Serpentine River victim dies, second driver identified

A car is pulled from Serpentine River Feb. 28 after a driver crashed through Highway 99 barricades. - Boaz Joseph file photo
A car is pulled from Serpentine River Feb. 28 after a driver crashed through Highway 99 barricades.
— image credit: Boaz Joseph file photo

A Vancouver woman who was trapped underwater for 90 minutes following a Feb. 28 car crash into the Serpentine River has died.

Cpl. Aaron Sproule, of the RCMP’s Lower Mainland District Traffic Services, confirmed Wednesday the woman was pronounced dead March 12 at Royal Columbian Hospital.

At the request of family members, who have asked for privacy, her name and personal information will not be released, Sproule said.

In addition, Sproule said, police have identified the driver of a second vehicle believed to have been involved in the incident, and are suggesting charges against that individual.

Details on the second driver have also not been released, pending Crown approval of the charges.

“Anything that might lead to identify a potential suspect, I can’t release… until Crown makes a decision whether they’re going to approve charges or not,” Sproule said.

The victim, in her 20s, was southbound in the 4600-block of Highway 99 just before 10 a.m. when she plunged through a barrier on the Serpentine River bridge into the murky water below.

Her black Honda Civic settled upside-down on the river bottom.

She was resuscitated at the scene and airlifted to hospital, but succumbed 12 days later.

Sproule confirmed police now know what happened to send the woman crashing through the barrier. And while he was not prepared to share those details yet either, Sproule agreed that whether the barriers performed as they should have is “an important part of the equation.”

The barriers are the responsibility of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. If there is a safety issue that needs to be dealt with, it is a ministry matter, Sproule said.

It is too early to say if police will recommend the ministry take a closer look at the barriers, he added.

Sproule, who has been a collision analyst since 2005, noted the Feb. 28 crash is the first he is aware of in which the barriers’ potential role has been brought into question.

It is also too early to say if there will be an assessment of the crash response effort, Sproule said.

Sproule thanked witnesses who came forward to help police with the investigation.

“Without them, it would have been much harder to piece together how this tragic event unfolded,” he said.


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