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Woman blames speeding logging trucks for death of her mother

Audrey Currie, a 63-year-old mother of four and grandmother, died in the Sunday afternoon crash south of Sicamous in B.C.'s southern interior
Audrey Currie

A woman who was killed in a collision with a logging truck on Highway 97A south of Sicamous in B.C.'s southern interior has been identified by family.

Audrey Currie, a 63-year-old mother of four and grandmother, died in the Sunday afternoon crash.

Her mother Patricia Proulx blames logging trucks driving at high speeds for the crash.

“You've got to understand those loggers are paid by the load. So once they unload their load, they fly back to go get another load. Because the faster they can get to where they can load up again, the faster they can unload and get more money," she said.

"That's what the loggers are doing — and that's what killed my daughter.”

Proulx says she's noticed this problem for years.

“We absolutely refused to take that 97A. Twice at that same corner, the loggers would come flying around that damn corner in our lane. And we came that close, twice, to being creamed by the loggers.”

She said something needs to be done about the situation.

“B.C. needs to do something about those loggers. ...They have to maybe even give them a minimum salary along with the price of each load. They have to do something so these loggers don't have to be going around speeding."

On Tuesday, Insp. Chad Badry of the BC Highway Patrol said the initial investigation determined the northbound logging truck crossed the centre line into oncoming traffic. Badry noted road conditions were reportedly very poor, but all avenues of investigation are still being considered.

Dave Earle, president of the BC Truckers Association, said most commercial drivers are extremely careful.

“It's consistent right across North America, about 80 per cent of the time in accidents involving commercial vehicles, the commercial vehicle is not at fault at all, about 80 per cent of the time," Earle said, adding ICBC would have data to back up that claim.

"So not apportionment, but that the commercial vehicle did nothing wrong. And I would expect that, because these are professional drivers.”

He said that still means there are some instances where there is some fault.

“That still means a whole bunch of the time, too much at the time, there was some fault. Now I don't want to get into the fault game, but just to say that because they're paid by the route, by the mile, whatever it may be, that's not really fair," Earle said.

He added early winter conditions are the most dangerous for driving.

"The snow that falls particularly when the temperature is around the freezing point, this is 2 C to -5 C stuff. This is the stuff we get early in the winter. It freezes and compacts into ice very quickly, and then that ice gets wet," he explained.

"It's incredibly challenging. It doesn't matter what road maintenance is in place, how much we do, we can never fully clear it, because early season snow is particularly difficult to deal with."

Proulx said she doesn't believe road conditions are to blame.

“If the roads were that bad, okay, she would have never left home to get on the road. I know my daughter, she would have never gone on that road for any reason if it was slick," Proulx said.

BC Highway Patrol is still investigating the crash with assistance from RCMP Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Service and Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement. Anyone who witnessed the crash or who have dash camera footage is asked to contact BC Highway Patrol in Golden.

Currie’s family has set up a GoFundMe to help cover the costs of the funeral and travel expenses for her children to attend the service.

"Audrey was struggling with health issues for many years before the accident, she just received life changing bypass surgery that would allow her to get her life back and be able to work again," says the fundraiser. "She was just recovering and finding a light at the end of the tunnel when this accident happened."

"In the wake of this unexpected tragedy, we are reaching out to you, our extended community, to help support the family during this difficult time."