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Chain-reaction collision occurs after trees drop on soggy Westholme Bridge

Expect the unexpected, and slow down.

That advice to winter-weather drivers came from Crofton's fire chief after a trucker suffered suspected back injuries when trees dropped on the Island Highway near Somenos Road Wednesday night.

The foggy-weather accident happened at about 7 p.m. when wind and rain caused what's believed to be a big roadside maple to fall, Lee Burridge said.

It took out several small trees — six to eight inches in diameter — that fell on a dark section of Westholme Bridge, blocking its southbound slow lane.

The domino effect continued as a black car driven by a female hit a downed tree.

She possibly lost control of her car, and it travelled along the meridian before stopping, Burridge said. That driver was examined later by paramedics.

Then the truck arrived, and its mirror clipped some tree debris, said Jeff Kidd of Mainroad South Island Contracting.

The rig stopped and its driver said he was experienced some back pain, said Burridge, so the trucker was taken to Cowichan District Hospital.

Finally, a third car reached the scene. It sustained damage to its undercarriage after hitting some road debris, the fire chief said.

Eight firefighters directed traffic and cleared the bark and branches while damaged rides were towed, and Mainroad's crews used a chainsaws to buck fallen tree trunks.

The soggy schmozzle was over in about 45 minutes, Kidd explained, noting bridge railing damage was being assessed.

He also warned drivers to slow down and drive road conditions "not 10 kilometres over the speed limit. As we get into winter, there'll be more of this type of weather."

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