An Abbotsford truck driver suffered a fractured collarbone Friday morning when a large rock was thrown at his driver’s side window as he was travelling on Highway 1.
Brad Kashmere said the incident took place at about 10:50 a.m. when he was driving his truck and two trailers – 85 feet long in total – to Surrey after picking up a load of lumber from Chilliwack.
He had moved over from the slow lane to the passing lane to allow traffic to merge onto the freeway from the Clearbrook Road on-ramp, and was travelling at about 105 km/h when something caught his eye in a forested area in the centre median.
At first, Kashmere thought it was a deer, but then he realized it was a man walking towards the side of the road.
Before Kashmere could process what was happening, the man threw a large rock – about the size of a softball – and it hit his truck, shattering his window.
The rock hit Kashmere in the shoulder, and the shattered glass got in his eye.
Kashmere, who has been a truck driver for 18 years, managed to keep going and was able to move into the slow lane and pull off the freeway at the Mt. Lehman exit.
He then called police – the RCMP’s Fraser Valley Traffic Services handles freeway incidents – and said he was told that officers don’t respond to this type of call, but an ambulance was on its way.
Once at the hospital, it was confirmed that Kashmere had a scratched cornea and a chipped/fractured collarbone. He was told he can expect to be off work for about six weeks.
Reflecting on the incident on Friday afternoon, Kashmere said he’s relieved that he was able to remain composed enough to keep his vehicle on the road and steer it to safety without anyone else being injured.
“It could have been a thousand times worse … I could have taken a lot of people out, and a lot of families, and I’m really glad I didn’t,” he said.
FVTS spokesman Cpl. Mike Halskov confirmed on Monday that the agency handled Kashmere’s call on Friday.
“It was determined the driver was injured and the investigating officer, appropriately, called for an ambulance to attend, which they did,” Halskov said.
“The officer, satisfied that the driver was receiving appropriate care, did not attend the scene because it was not necessary nor is it required in every instance. The officer was simply exercising his discretion after taking all factors into consideration.”
Halskov said BC RCMP Traffic Services’ mandate is to reduce serious-injury and fatal collisions by focusing on seatbelt infractions, impaired drivers, aggressive drivers, intersection infractions and distracted drivers.
Incidents outside of those areas are handled by the police department in the jurisdiction in question, he said.
In this case, Halskov said the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) was informed of the matter and began an investigation.
APD Sgt. Judy Bird said three or four APD officers did a foot patrol of the freeway median between Clearbrook and Peardonville roads starting at about 5:30 p.m. on Friday. She said the Air One police helicopter also flew over the area, and no individuals or homeless camps were located.
Bird said that anyone with video or dash-cam footage of the incident is asked to contact the APD at 604-859-5225 or text 22973 (abbypd).
Halskov said the RCMP is thankful that Kashmere will make a full recovery.
“(We) commend him for maintaining his composure during this incident as, in doing so, he may have prevented a far more serious occurrence.”