By Goat Staff
Barriere police say three people were found deceased Dec 28th after colliding with a van on Highway 5 near the Oliver Creek Forest Service Road.

A second fatal incident occurred the same day just south of Barriere.

At about 6:50 a.m. on December 28th, personnel from BC Highway Patrol, BC Emergency Health Services, Fire Rescue, and the Barriere RCMP responded to the two-vehicle collision involving a Toyota Corolla and a Ford Sprinter van.

The people who died were later identified by friends and family as Allan Woolridge, Janine Balasa, and Raymund Aguilar, all residents of Valemount, BC.

Police say its preliminary investigation found the incident occurred after the driver of the Corolla, who was travelling south, attempted to pass a semi-truck and collided with the oncoming Ford van.

Corporal James Grandy with BC RCMP Communication Services said the driver and two passengers of the Toyota Corolla were found deceased.

“The driver of the Ford Sprinter van was transported to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries,” Grandy said.

Highway 5 was closed for about six hours in both directions while RCMP conducted further investigation, but re-opened at about 12:50 p.m. on December 28th.

Police say the investigation remains in its early stages.

The Mayor of Barriere spoke out after the accident, calling for better safety for the highway corridor north of Kamloops.

“Again it shows we need major investment in our Highway 5 infrastructure including widening, variable speed corridors and more passing lanes.”

Area ‘O’ TNRD director, Jill Hayward also made her voice heard.

“My heart is breaking for their families, and also for our incredible first responders who have to deal with the aftermath of these accidents. These constant deaths on our highway should no longer be acceptable. I feel strongly that at some point everyone has to recognize the fact that bringing our Highway 5 corridor back to a safe route to travel involves all of the players which includes the province, MOTI, RCMP, and CVSE, along with local government, the contractors, and most importantly all those who drive this highway. We all need to be part of the solution.”