Ten teens packed in truck survive crash on road described as ‘party central’

SURREY – Police are investigating two traffic incidents, one in South Surrey and the other in Whalley, where riders were hurled from automobiles this past weekend.

Mounties suspect alcohol may have been a contributing factor in both cases.

Eight passengers, in their late teens and early 20s, were thrown from the box of a Dodge pickup truck driven by a 17-year-old boy at 12:04 a.m. Saturday.

Police said the driver lost control of the pickup and it hit a curb, at 192nd Street and 34th Avenue in South Surrey. There were two people in the cab and eight people – five girls and three boys – in the back. These were ejected as the pickup did a full flip, landing on its tires. Four were able to walk away from the crash but others were taken to Royal Columbian and Surrey Memorial Hospitals to be treated for broken ribs, a concussion and other injuries that weren’t considered to be life threatening.

Surrey RCMP Cpl. Bert Paquet said it was “amazing” no one was killed or seriously injured. “Our officers could have easily been knocking on doors in the middle of the night advising family members that their loved ones were critically injured or deceased,” he said.

In the meantime, a 23-year-old Surrey man sustained critical head injuries after being thrown from the back of an SUV that had its tailgate down.

This happened at about 5:30 p.m. Monday, in the 10100-block of 128A Street in Whalley. Police said the SUV, driven by a 23-year-old Surrey man, accelerated quickly with three young men in the back. Two were able to hang on to the sides, but the one in the middle fell onto his head on the asphalt road.

“We usually find these happen after a series of bad decisions,” Paquet said of the incidents. “You need to give respect to the risks involved in riding in any vehicle without using the vehicle’s safety restraints.”

Paquet said the drivers in both cases are “potentially” facing charges under the Motor Vehicle Act or Criminal Code.

“It should be noted that just because you are a passenger does not absolve you of responsibility,” he added. “As grad season approaches, young people in particular are reminded to make the right choice and not get into a vehicle with a driver who’s been drinking or using illegal substances.”

Gary Sutton, CEO of R.A.S. Industries Ltd. on the corner of 190th Street and 34th Avenue, wants police to pay more attention to the area.

“I have called the RCMP twice in the last four months regarding vehicles driving through our vegetation and performing burnouts in our parking lot,” Sutton told the Now.

He said it’s “party central” every Friday night along 34th, between 192nd and 188th.

“The RCMP doesn’t seem to care about any of this as it’s not deemed important enough,” he said. “This area needs regular patrol especially since it’s clearly a party spot every Friday and Saturday… It’s no surprise that there was this incident.”

Paquet said that “as many other similar cases, this is an issue that needs to be addressed with a collaborative approach between our community and the police.

He said the Surrey RCMP’s annual summer park patrols initiative is designed to address problems like this.

“The district commander, who is aware of the issues, will manage the resources available to target this area with enhanced police presence and extra patrols,” he said.

tzytaruk@thenownewspaper.com

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