An effort to avoid running over a mother duck and a stream of tiny ducklings ended up with a couple of people being sent to hospital suffering from injuries caused by a traffic chain reaction on Highway 39 east near the Bienfait intersection last Friday evening around 6 o'clock.
Sergeant Daryl Milo of the Estevan detachment of the RCMP, said a male motorcyclist and his female passenger, both residents of Bienfait, were taken to hospital in Estevan following the mishap. The woman was stabilized and subsequently transferred by STARS air ambulance to a Regina hospital for further treatment for undetermined injuries.
“Apparently there was a family of ducks crossing the highway on No. 39 east,” said Milo. Traffic coming and going on that stretch of highway slowed or stopped to allow the ducklings to cross safely, but for some travellers heading west, the episode turned out badly.
One westbound vehicle saw the slowed and stopped traffic ahead of them and also stopped for the ducks while a trailing vehicle also managed to stop behind him, edging his vehicle onto the shoulder of the road. The third vehicle in the chain however ... the motorcycle, did not slow down immediately and then the sudden braking sent both driver and passenger up and over and into the back end of the second stopped vehicle.
“We don't believe the motorcycle actually struck the back of the car, but the passengers did,” said Milo, noting that the investigation is ongoing, but that is what appeared to be the scenario with the original check.
“It seemed the momentum carried them into the parked vehicle,” the sergeant said.
The motorcycle driver was treated in hospital and it was believed he was released later, while the female passenger was transferred via the STARS helicopter service, the second such visit to Estevan by this air medical evacuation unit since it began operations in the province last month.
“All the drivers who were involved in the incident have been interviewed or are being interviewed,” said Milo, noting that there is no straight protocol to follow in situations like this, other than driver discretion regarding their determination as to whether they can slow down or stop safely for wildlife when it's spotted on the highway, taking all other factors into consideration such as traffic speed and volume.
Milo said that alcohol was not a factor in this incident and their investigation continues.