(UPDATE: 11:55 a.m.) - Despite earlier reports, the vehicle involved in this morning's fatal crash on Hwy 97 in West Kelowna was not a taxi.
It was a passenger vehicle operated by a local designated driver service.
Police have now identified the driver who was killed in the crash and continue their efforts to properly notify the victim's next of kin.
There was one passenger in the vehicle who remains in hospital in critical condition.
Cpl. Jesse O'Donaghey says the investigation remains in its early stages.
If you witnessed the crash, which took place in the intersection of Hwy 97 and Bartley Road, and haven't yet talked to police, you're asked to call the RCMP Central Okanagan Traffic Services at 250-491-5354.
(UPDATE: 7:55 a.m.) - Hwy 97 has fully reopened in West Kelowna.
It closed down around 2 a.m. after a fatal crash between a semi and a taxi.
(UPDATE: 7 a.m.) - The crash that has Hwy 97 closed in West Kelowna this morning has proved to be fatal, says the Kelowna RCMP.
It happened shortly before 2 a.m. and first responders arrived on scene to find a passenger vehicle heavily damaged after being hit from behind by a semi.
According to a KelownaNow reader, the police dispatcher said the passenger vehicle involved was a taxi when initially calling for emergency crews to attend the scene.
“Sadly, the driver of the white Hyundai Tucson was pronounced deceased at the scene,” said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey.
“His lone passenger suffered serious injuries and was rushed from the scene to hospital by BC Emergency Health Services.”
The semi driver remained at the scene and has been cooperating with police.
RCMP Central Okanagan Traffic Services (COTS) have now taken lead of the ongoing investigation.
“One of our priorities at this time is establishing an identity for the deceased, and properly notifying his next of kin,” explained O’Donaghey.
Hwy 97 remains closed southbound and police are asking anyone who witnessed the crash and hasn't yet talked to police to call RCMP COTS at 250-491-5354.
(UPDATE: 6:45 a.m.) - Hwy 97 is now open northbound, says DriveBC.
However, it remains closed southbound between Daimler Drive and Bartley Road.
There's no estimated time of opening for the southbound stretch of the highway.
There is a detour available via Ross Road.
UPDATE - #BCHwy97 - Vehicle incident between Daimler Dr and Bartley Rd in #WestKelowna. The highway is now open NB but SB lanes remain closed with a detour via Ross Rd. Assessment in progress. No estimated time of opening. Next update 7:00 AM.https://t.co/C8KR4sjYue— DriveBC TOK (@DriveBC_TOK) June 14, 2019
(Original story: 6:25 a.m.) - The morning commute on Hwy 97 in West Kelowna will be a little more chaotic than usual today.
Hwy 97 is closed in both directions between Daimler Drive and Bartley Road and there’s no estimated time for the road to reopen.
UPDATE - CLOSED - #BCHwy97 - Vehicle incident between Daimler Dr and Bartley Rd in #WestKelowna. The highway is closed in both directions with a detour via Ross Rd. Assessment in progress. No estimated time of opening. Next update 7:00 AM.https://t.co/boFCLnkqYb— DriveBC TOK (@DriveBC_TOK) June 14, 2019
DriveBC says the closure is due to a “vehicle incident.”
A detour is available via Ross Road, but there will surely be congestion as more drivers hit the road for their Friday morning commute.
NowMedia will update this story when more information becomes available.