Lower Mainland RCMP confirmed on Monday that a warning call made to police hours before a deadly crash in Langley last week was not redirected to the appropriate authorities.
At 11:11 p.m. PT last Monday, Abaid Tariq phoned 911 to report a construction truck parked in the eastbound fast lane of Highway 1 in dense fog and without proper warning signs, after he was forced to veer out of the way of the truck in his fully loaded tractor-trailer.
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According to RCMP, calls are prioritized and that call should have been passed on to the highways department. However, that never happened.
“That information should have been forwarded to the regional transportation management centre, known previously as the department of highways, to have it looked into. What I can tell you is that unfortunately, that did not happen,” said Sgt. Peter Thiessen with Lower Mainland RCMP.
"We're looking into that. It's not clear why that was not forwarded, where the breakdown was. So we're going to be having an internal look at exactly where the protocol fell apart.”
Over four hours later, at 3:50 a.m. PT, a sport-utility vehicle smashed into the back of the construction truck and exploded, killing the driver and sole occupant of the vehicle, 30-year-old Mandeep Singh Aujla of Abbotsford.
Last week, Tariq provided CBC News with a copy of his phone bill, which confirmed the call was made. RCMP say the call was transferred to Abbotsford Police, who then redirected it to Chilliwack RCMP.
What happened after that point is still under investigation.
Ministry of Transportation officials say that highways can be closed by police or by the ministry, depending on conditions.
The officials declined to comment further while the crash is under investigation.
Two separate warnings
According to Diane Herback of the B.C. Flagging Association, Tariq's call to police was not the only attempt to warn the construction crew to get off the highway.
Herback said workers with Mainroad Contracting stopped at the scene hours before the fatal accident to tell the crew that they lacked proper signage and flags, and that they were concerned about the extremely foggy conditions.
"Somebody died. Somebody needs to be accountable for this guy's death. That's why we're so upset,” she said.