Cochrane RCMP said a two-vehicle crash on Highway 1A has left one dead and three others with serious injuries. RCMP said a vehicle with three occupants was travelling east on the highway and collided with a westbound vehicle with one person inside. It happened at around 11 a.m. Friday near Heritage Gate, west of Highway 22.

“I was just in the bathroom doing my hair and I heard this crunch, like a crash and I thought, oh!” described witness Donna Peterson. “Then I saw it was head on.”

Police said the driver of the eastbound SUV was killed in the crash. EMS said the man is believed to be in his 20s or 30s.

RCMP suggest he may have been impaired, and are investigating alcohol as a contributing factor in the crash. Witnesses told investigators the eastbound SUV crossed the centre line.

Sgt. Jeff Campbell said traumatic scenes like this one are becoming all too routine for emergency crews.

“Not only are they impacting themselves, the families, other families – but the officers that attend these, because they carry images from these all through their careers.”

Witnesses said it took about an hour for victims to be removed from the eastbound vehicle by crews using the jaws of life.

“I didn’t know. Nothing was moving for a while. Then you saw them getting to work and getting the jaws of life and doing all that,” Peterson said.

EMS said two others taken to hospital by ambulance were a woman believed to be in her 20s or 30s in life-threatening condition and a middle-aged man with “multiple serious injuries” but in stable, non-life-threatening condition.

Cochrane is located about 35 kilometres northwest of Calgary.

Traffic in the area was affected by the crash Friday morning. Highway 1A was reopened in both directions as of 2:30 p.m.

STARS retweeted this video of the air ambulance taking off: