Pincher Creek RCMP are investigating a series of multiple-vehicle collisions on Highway 3 between Pincher Station and Cowley, according to Sgt. Ryan Hodge.
Hodge confirmed there were a few injuries among motorists involved in four collisions reported near Pincher Station between 4 p.m. Wednesday and 8 a.m. Thursday.
First responders closed Highway 3 near Cowley at around 10 a.m. Thursday, following a second series of collisions.
Hodge said it wasn’t clear exactly how many vehicles were involved in either smash-up as of Thursday afternoon.
Pat Neumann, chief of Pincher Creek Emergency Services, said at least eight vehicles were involved in the Cowley pileup, including multiple tractor-trailers.
Neumann said two people were taken to hospital with moderate injuries. One was treated in Pincher Creek hospital and later transferred to Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge, while the other was taken to Crowsnest Pass hospital, then airlifted to a Calgary hospital.
PCES on Wednesday evening attended a single-vehicle rollover on a stretch of Highway 22 near Lundbreck and a multiple-vehicle collision on Highway 6 near Pincher Creek, Neumann said.
Hodge said charges are expected against drivers believed to be responsible for some of the pileups, as per Alberta’s Traffic and Safety Act, advising that the detachment’s investigation could last through the weekend.
What is clear is that many drivers aren’t driving to winter highway conditions, which Hodge said are notoriously treacherous between Pincher Station and Crowsnest Pass.
Snowdrifts had crept onto Highway 3 at Pincher Station by late Wednesday afternoon, but responding officers reported adequate visibility. Neumann said the highway was slippery near Cowley Thursday morning, adding that blowing snow had reduced visibility.
“People aren’t slowing down. They aren’t driving to road conditions,” Hodge said.
Mounties don’t believe drugs or alcohol were involved in any of the collisions they attended, he said.
Pincher Creek RCMP strongly recommend that drivers use caution on Highway 3.
“When you see a snowdrift on the highway, slow down and wait until it’s safe to drive around it,” Hodge said.