The Ponoka County Fire Department’s Community Response Spill Trailer at the scene of the accident July 9. Photo submitted

UPDATE: Driver whose vehicle ended up in Battle River had fallen asleep at the wheel

Driver seemed “alright” when fire department arrived

The Ponoka RCMP Integrated Traffic Unit (ITU) has determined that the driver of the vehicle that went of the road and ended up in the Battle River on at around 7 a.m. on July 9, just south of Ponoka, had fallen asleep at the wheel.

According to Cpl. Drew Taylor of the ITU, the driver had fallen asleep before leaving Hwy. 2 northbound lane, just south of the Hwy. 53 overpass, and crashed into the ditch before his vehicle became submerged in the Battle River.

The driver was taken to hospital with minor injuries and was later released.

Although there won’t be any criminal charges laid, there may be charges under the Traffic Safety Act or use of a highway/ rules of the road regulations, according to Taylor.

The Ponoka County East District Fire Department was dispatched at 7:06 a.m. and responded to the scene.

The driver of the vehicle was conscious and speaking with EMS when the fire department members arrived according to Ponoka County Regional Fire Chief Dennis Jones.

At the scene, there was a small amount of fluid from the vehicle causing a sheen on the water, so the fire department utilized its Community Response Spill Trailer.

The department is trained at the hazardous material operations level to clean up spills and was also in direct contact with Alberta Environment when handling the scene.

A boom was deployed that successfully contained the spill and an absorbent boom was also used, which will remove any hydrocarbons from the surface of the water.

The fire department was on site for about two hours, before turning over the scene to Ponoka RCMP. The fire department will return later in the day to remove the absorbent boom, which will de disposed of through Alberta Environment.

The driver

The incident is under investigation by Ponoka RCMP.

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