|Highway 93/95 near Canal Flats, B.C. (Google Street View)
CALGARY — Mounties are investigating the tragic death of a Calgary woman who was hit by a rock that smashed through the windshield while her husband drove on a B.C. highway.
Staff Sgt. Marko Shehovac, with Columbia Valley RCMP, said the woman was struck on Hwy 93/95 near Canal Flats in the Kootenays on Friday at 11:10 a.m.
The family -- including the victim's husband and two kids -- was travelling northbound in a Subaru Legacy when a large piece of rock became dislodged from a southbound semi with an unloaded lowbed trailer, said Shehovac.
"Somehow a large boulder or rock was dislodged from the semi," he said.
"It went into the air and came down and smashed through the window of the Subaru and it struck the 36-year-old female passenger and that blow killed her.
"The husband kept on driving towards the hospital but realized around Fairmont there was nothing he could do."
The rock that smashed through the windshield was about 30 cm by 13 cm.
The nearest hospital in the area is in Invermere, B.C., which is about 28 km north of Fairmont Hot Springs.
The woman's husband stopped just before Fairmont, where Mounties, the East Kootenay traffic section from Cranbrook, fire department and ambulance responded to help the family.
Traffic patrols went looking for the semi truck based on the description given by the woman's husband.
Mounties found the semi in Wasa, about 47 km south of Canal Flats, where the rock flew into the windshield.
They seized and inspected the vehicle, said Shehovac.
"We're confident that the rock came from that truck and at present time East Kootenay traffic is the lead investigator with that traffic fatality along with the B.C. Coroner's office," he said.
"I don't think the truck (driver) would have known that something had happened behind him."
The semi driver is believed to be from Cranbrook, B.C.
Shehovac said this kind of traffic fatality is "very rare."
"It's not rare to get rocks and stuff going up in the air, but something like this, it's very, very rare."
The driver of the semi was taken into custody but was released later.
Mounties continue to investigate and no one has been charged.
The name of the victim has not been released.
In July 2010, Kristen Coutts was killed in a freak accident on the Trans-Canada Hwy., near Canada Olympic Park in Calgary, when a brake drum was launched into the windshield of her Toyota RAV4 as she drove home.