Sun, December 19, 2004

Mystery car crash kills 2, baffles cops

POLICE AND family are baffled why a 59-year-old Huntsville man, who started his day Christmas shopping, ended up careening down the highway in the wrong lane, killing himself and another driver in a head-on collision yesterday. Despite efforts to stop him, Michael Blackley ignored police, recklessly veering around one cruiser in his 10-km flight to a fiery death.

His southbound 1999 Dodge Dakota pickup truck crashed into a northbound Chevy Cavalier on Hwy. 11 at Bracebridge just after midnight, demolishing both vehicles. Blackley and Jeremy Boyer, 24, of Bracebridge were killed.

"We can't understand why he did this," said his grieving widow, Lyn Blackley, at her Huntsville home, where her two daughters were comforting her.

"He got up in the morning and he was fine. He was going Christmas shopping. That's the last I heard from him."

She said she is waiting for police to explain what motivated her husband to drive the wrong way on the busy divided highway.

"We just can't understand it. Maybe he just went ... I don't know."

Bracebridge OPP say alcohol is not considered a factor in the accident.

"It's certainly strange, that's for sure," said Const. Ted Smith. "The officers shut down the highway and attempted to stop him before something like this happened."

He said there will be a full investigation.

In an odd twist, a similar tragedy happened almost a year ago on the same stretch of highway. Last February, Cynthia Oster, 44, of Gravenhurst, sped southbound in the northbound lane and slammed into a van. The accident killed Oster and five other people.

Family and friends said Oster was suffering from depression at the time.