A trucker who was travelling on Highway 1 shortly before a fatal collision on the weekend has come forward, telling CBC News that he called police to warn them about the possibility of a serious accident.
Abaid Tariq says he was driving a fully-loaded tractor trailer in the eastbound centre lane on Highway 1 in Langley in the early morning hours on Saturday when he saw a parked construction vehicle and several crew members in his lane through the thick fog.
Tariq swerved to the left to avoid the truck and workers.
"I didn't even check if there was somebody coming in the back, you know. I just like had to move," he told CBC News.
Tariq admits he himself could have caused an accident, but says he was acting purely on instinct.
Immediately after, at exactly 12:11 a.m. PT according to his phone records, Tariq says he called police and told the dispatcher, "They are in the middle of the highway, there is no warning signs before them. It's just an invitation to a disaster."
The truck and crew belonged to Chilliwack-based Jakes Construction, contractors currently building an eastbound truck climbing ramp between 264 and 232 streets.
At about 3:50 a.m. PT, an SUV smashed into the back of the construction truck and exploded, killing 30-year-old Mandeep Singh Aujla from Abbotsford, who was the driver and sole occupant. None of the workers were injured in the collision.
In a statement yesterday, RCMP said that high speed and dense fog were likely factors in the accident.
Tariq says that visibility was so low that the highway should have been closed and the crew should have never been there, or at the very least there should have been flaggers and signage providing traffic control.
"First of all, it's foggy weather, and the highway shouldn't have been open. Second, if it's open there shouldn't be construction going on. Third, there was no flagging, no nothing, on it. Fourth thing, somebody was advised there was construction going on, and nobody did anything," he says.
"It was a chain of bad things happening, one after the other."
Flagging Association raised concerns
Tariq's revelation comes one day after Diane Herback of the B.C. Flagging Association contacted CBC News to say that the construction crew ignored a warning from Mainroad Contracting to move the truck off of the highway due to the fog and lack of warning flags.
"They stopped and forewarned them that they needed to get off the highway because they have no traffic control, no proper signage and the weather is really bad due to the fog, and somebody is going to die," Herback said.
"Two hours later somebody died. So shame on them."
The accident is currently under investigation, but Tariq says he wants the victims' family to know that their loved one was probably not at fault in the crash.