No one is to blame for an accident in which a falling boulder crushed Langley driver Matt Ruscheinski’s semi truck.
ICBC has declared the incident as ‘no fault.’
Ruscheinski, who has been hauling modular buildings for the past 20 years, was driving his custom-built truck past Spences Bridge, B.C. on Jan. 18 when his rig was crushed by the giant rock.
Ruscheinski told the Times on Jan. 30 that ICBC is classifying the accident as a comprehensive claim.
“They (ICBC) paid me based on the declared value (of the truck), being that I had just recently purchased it,” Ruscheinski remarked.
Reflecting on the incident in the Fraser Canyon, Ruscheinski said, “It happened super fast.”
“Basically, I was driving down the highway in a straight stretch of road for a little ways and I saw boulders the size of beach balls coming off the side hill.”
He has seen small rocks fall and hit the ground in his past travels, so with no traffic around, Ruscheinski moved his truck to the centre of the road to avoid them “in case any of them bounced on the road a little.”
But just as he was approaching the small rocks, an entire section of the rock wall gave way.
“Everything fell right in front of me,” Ruscheinski said. “It was literally in the blink of an eye. I don’t even think I was able to hit the brake pedal before I hit the rock.”
Ruscheinski said the sound of the boulder hitting the front driver’s side of his truck “was a giant crunching noise.”
“I went from 80 km/h to nothing in about three feet,” Ruscheinski said.
“It was instant. Thank God I had my seat belt on.”
He says his back and left shoulder are pretty sore from the accident, because of the way his seat belt grabbed him and pushed him back.
“I took the dashboard to the leg and my left hand took a pretty good wallop between the dashboard and the windshield, because I was holding onto the steering wheel,” Ruscheinski said.
While he has been stuck behind fallen rocks, waiting for highways to reopen, this is the first time Ruscheinski has been directly involved in a rock slide
“I’ve been stuck behind mudslides and the odd avalanche, stuff like that, but nothing like this,” Ruscheinski said. “I’ve never been in any kind of accident, anywhere close to this.”
Ruscheinski said he’s lucky to be alive, but unlucky in the sense that he had just finished building his truck.
“I’ve been in the industry for a lot of years, but this is kind of my first step into going in as an owner/operator,” he said last week. “It’s a little stressful now, at this point.”