Saanich Police have confirmed the driver behind the vehicle that was a part of a massive collision at Uptown Shopping Centre last week was a man in his 20’s, and that he was experiencing a mental health crisis at the time.
The crash occurred just before 4:30 p.m. on Friday, April 9th, after the vehicle, which was on a parkade level, drove through a concrete wall and into the interior of Walmart.
Several Walmart employees had to be rescued from the walk-in cooler in the store’s deli section.
“Saanich Fire crews were able to rescue the people trapped inside, and the driver was also safely removed from their vehicle,” said Saanich Police in a media release.
All sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
Police are now confirming the driver was a man in his early 20’s who they believe was experiencing a mental health crisis leading up to and at the time of the collision.
“The driver was taken to the hospital to receive medical care and treatment. It’s remarkable that physical injuries to all involved were non-life-threatening,” said Cst. Markus Anastasiades with Saanich PD.
Walmart was closed following the incident and has since reopened — four days later. The deli department remains closed as repairs continue.
“The safety and well-being of our associates is a top priority,” said Walmart spokesperson Felicia Fefer.
“While the store has been closed, associates not working have been paid for their scheduled shifts. We do have counselling services and support available for our associates.”
It was initially reported the driver was an elderly woman but police later clarified it was not.
The incident remains under investigation.
If you or someone you know needs help, call the B.C. Crisis Centre Distress Line number at 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-784-2433.