SURREY — A witness to a spectacular crash in Whalley where an ice cream van landed on its side in a ditch on Thursday afternoon said the driver appeared to be “absolutely hammered.”
Denise Milne-Holme was outside, dipping her feet in a plastic swimming pool when all hell broke loose. She said the ice cream guy had just served some kids in a cul-de-sac, drove away, pulled a U-turn, hit a meridian and “goes airborne.”
There was a “big poof sand cloud thing.” The van landed on its side in a ditch.
“He missed a kid,” Milne-Holme said, adding that had the crash happened 15 minutes earlier, “he would have taken out a bunch of kids, literally.”
“The neighbourhood is irate about this, too,” she said.
This happened on 141st Street, near 100th Avenue, at about 3:45 p.m.
Milne-Holme said the driver climbed out, ran off into a bush and three neighbours chased him. She feared there’d be an explosion.
“He had a propane tank.
“The guy was absolutely hammered, and I mean hammered,” she said, adding the ice cream van “absolutely reeked of alcohol.”
She said three ambulances and two police cars arrived. The driver was arrested and had two roadside breathalyzer tests, Milne-Holme said, but knocked the first device over and broke it.
Surrey RCMP Staff Sergeant Murray Hedderson said the driver, a 45-year-old Surrey resident, was “dealt with at the scene. Alcohol is believed to be a factor in this incident.”
Surrey RCMP Corporal Scotty Schumann said the driver received a 90-day driving prohibition, 30-day vehicle impoundment, was released and left in a taxi.
Police have not released his name and no further charges have been laid.
“The matter is still under investigation,” Staff Sergeant Murray Hedderson said.
“The persons reporting advised the ice cream truck was driving erratically, and had struck several garbage cans that were along the edge of the roadway, and then driven into the ditch,” Hedderson said. “There were no apparent injuries.”
Police are asking witnesses who saw the van before it went into the ditch, or stopped to help at the scene, to call the Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502.
Meantime, the Surrey RCMP will be setting up several CounterAttack roadblocks throughout the city this weekend.
Schumann noted that 46 per cent of impaired driving-related deaths in B.C. happen during summer.