Former Norman Wells mayor medevaced after head-on collision on winter road

The current mayor of Norman Wells, N.W.T., says Kevin Diebold is 'very lucky' after he was in a head-on collision on the Mackenzie Winter Road this week.

Crash happened Monday between Wrigley and Tulita

Kevin Diebold suffered a leg injury in a crash on the Mackenzie Valley Winter Road Monday evening, says current Norman Wells mayor Frank Pope. (Danny McNeely/Facebook)

The current mayor of Norman Wells says Kevin Diebold is "very lucky" to have escaped a head-on collision on the Mackenzie Winter Road this week.

"If you've seen pictures of the vehicle, he is very fortunate," said Frank Pope.

Diebold's leg is getting rebuilt in an Edmonton hospital right now, according to Pope, who added he has shown no signs of internal or head injuries.

Diebold is a former mayor of Norman Wells, and president of WhiponicWellputer, a contracting firm in the town. Diebold is on the Norman Wells Chamber of Commerce board of directors.

He is very fortunate.- Mayor Frank Pope

He was driving on the Mackenzie Winter Road between Wrigley and Tulita when he collided with what Pope estimated to be a "three-quarter or one-ton truck" early Monday evening.

The road closed to heavy traffic, vehicles heavier than 5,000 kilograms, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Kevin Diebold is the owner of Whiponic Wellputer in Normal Wells. Mayor Frank Pope called him a 'very good businessman.'

Diebold was medevaced from the crash site via helicopter. The Norman Wells fire department flew out to help as well.

Tulita RCMP said in an email that they got a report of a two-vehicle collision on the winter road at around 4:50 p.m. on Monday.

They said one person was injured and taken by helicopter to the Tulita Health Centre before being transferred to Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife for treatment of "serious but non-life-threatening injuries."

Police said they were told the injured person was later transported to Edmonton for more treatment. 

"There was no evidence of criminality at the time," said RCMP.

Blind corners

Pope said he tries to only travel on the road at night so he can see other vehicles' headlights and taillights.

"These roads [have] blind corners on them. It's a dangerous road if you're going too fast," he said.

"I'm not saying they were going too fast, but anything can happen on that road. You've got to be very, very cautious."

Pope advised other drivers on the road to "take it easy," because warm weather makes for icy conditions. He said it's been a good decision to restrict driving on the road during daytime hours.

"At least you can see lights of people ahead of you," he said. "You know what's coming and you can pull over to the side of the road."

Diebold has lived in Norman Wells for 40 years, according to Pope, who described him as a "very good businessman."