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Man, 21, dies in head-on crash on Trans-Canada

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Emergency personnel work to extricate a person from a vehicle involved in a collision with a semi on the Trans-Canada Highway near Headingley Monday night.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Emergency personnel work to extricate a person from a vehicle involved in a collision with a semi on the Trans-Canada Highway near Headingley Monday night. Photo Store

A 21-year-old man driving a pickup truck died Monday night in a crash with a semi-trailer on the Trans-Canada Highway just west of the Perimeter Highway.

The collision occurred just before 9:30 p.m. between K. Bosch & Sons Greenhouse and the Motel 6 on the Trans-Canada Highway, in the 4200 block of Portage Ave.

The victim was the lone occupant of the pickup truck. His name was not released by the RCMP.

The driver of the semi, a 33-year-old Edmonton man, was taken to hospital and treated for minor injuries. He is now in police custody, the RCMP said this morning.

Late Monday night, a witness who did not want to be named but identified himself as the victim's cousin, said the pickup had just left the baseball diamonds at the John Blumberg Softball Complex and was heading east when it was struck head-on by the westbound semi-trailer.

That stretch of the Trans-Canada has double lanes in both directions but is not divided. Following the collision, eastbound lanes of the Trans-Canada were closed in the area, and a detour was put into effect. They were reopened early this morning.

RCMP confirmed to the Free Press late Monday night it appeared the semi-trailer crossed the centre line and hit the eastbound pickup truck.

This morning, Sgt. Line Karpish, spokeswoman for the RCMP in Manitoba, said the investigation is continuing but that no charges have yet been laid.

The semi-trailer is owned by Advance Trucking, based out of Fort McMurray, Alta.

Speaking by phone this morning, company owner Sikander Brar said he was very upset and "could not sleep all night" after he learned of the crash overnight.

"I’m very sad… someone lost a life. A mother lost her son," he said.

Brar said the driver has only been with Advance Trucking for two weeks. He said all prospective employees must pass drug and alcohol testing before being hired.

The company had posted four straight years without a collision prior to Monday’s crash, he said.

Advance has four trucks on the road, crossing the country and dipping into the United States, Brar said.

On Monday, the driver left Fargo early in the morning and arrived in Winnipeg by 8 a.m. with a load. He had another load to pick up in Steinbach and was to drive to Edmonton "on his own schedule."

Brar said he dropped the first load in Winnipeg but also left the trailer there. Brar said the driver was supposed to return for the trailer but never came back.

"I don’t know what happened. I don’t know why he had his cellphone off," he said. "He is driving independent. We don't have a supervisor. We only talk to him by phone."

Brar expects to talk with the RCMP this morning.

History

Updated on Monday, July 22, 2013 at 11:41 PM CDT: corrects typo, adds info.

12:35 AM: Edits location.

July 23, 2013 at 8:00 AM: Adds information from RCMP.

9:00 AM: Adds comments from trucking company owner.

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