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Men battle critical, serious injuries after collision with RCMP cruiser

Evan Duggan (Vancouver Sun) – The two men who were airlifted to hospital after a collision with an RCMP cruiser late Tuesday night continue to battle critical and serious injuries.

Steve Genberg, identified as the 20-year-old driver of the red Ford Mustang, remained in critical condition overnight, while the 19-year-old passenger remained in serious condition, Abbotsford police confirmed on Thursday morning.

Const. Ian MacDonald said more details would be made available as investigators continue to piece together the cause of the head-on collision between Genberg’s Mustang, and a Chilliwack RCMP cruiser.

Genberg’s grandmother was reached in Langley by phone. She said she was too upset to talk about her grandson or the accident.

On Genberg’s Facebook page, a photo of his intact 1989 Mustang adorned his wall.

A staff member at Mission Towing in Mission confirmed Genberg is an employee there but declined to comment on the situation.

On Wednesday, MacDonald said Genberg was leading a “caravan” of four or five vehicles heading toward Harrison Lake, when it collided head-on with a marked Chilliwack RCMP cruiser at 11 p.m.

“Let’s get all the witnesses first before we say anything definitive,” MacDonald said, when asked if one of the vehicles crossed the centre line.

He said several witnesses that were following Genberg’s car at the time of the crash had already been interviewed, “but not all of them.”

“It was a devastating head-on collision,” MacDonald said. “We’re most worried about the driver from a medical standpoint, but I don’t want to diminish the serious injuries of the passenger.”

Alcohol is not believed to be a factor in the crash, MacDonald said.

By Wednesday afternoon police couldn’t say if the RCMP cruiser had its lights on, but MacDonald confirmed it was en route to back up another officer when the collision occurred on Highway 7 at Bodnar Road.

The Abbotsford police department is handling the investigation because a Fraser Valley RCMP officer was involved, MacDonald said.

The officer was released from hospital after finding out he did not have any broken bones.

“It was a horrific noise,” recalled Paula Neels, who heard the loud squeal of tires and the crash from her nearby home. She called 911 before she went outside with her husband.

She said they saw the ruined car in the ditch and watched two helicopters land on the highway.

At 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday crews pulled the wrecked Mustang — missing its roof and doors — from the ditch, and loaded it onto a flatbed truck to be taken away.

The major crime unit and a collision reconstruction team continued to examine the scene of the crash Wednesday night.

Mission Mayor James Atebe said his thoughts and prayers were with the families of the two injured men.

“Any accident where lives are in danger will be a major concern to the community, whether you are closely related to the individual involved or not,” he said.

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