VANCOUVER -- One person is dead after a serious hit-and-run collision on Vancouver Island Saturday morning, Mounties say.

Paramedics, police and fire crews were all called to the scene on the Trans Canada Highway in Ladysmith around 8:40 a.m.

Images from the scene show a pickup truck towing a trailer and an SUV, both of which appear to have sustained significant damage. A third vehicle - another pickup truck - could be seen upside down at the end of a debris field that stretched roughly 100 metres.

Elsewhere in the debris field, an engine could be seen dislodged from its vehicle, and a truck-mounted camper was resting upside down on the side of the roadway.

In a news release, Ladysmith RCMP said the incident occurred when a southbound Ford F150 crossed the highway's centre median and collided with a northbound SUV. The third vehicle, a pickup truck towing a trailer, narrowly avoided the collision and remains at the scene, police said.

The driver of the F150 did not remain at the scene, police said. Instead, he fled on foot. Police believe he has since stolen another vehicle, and his whereabouts is unknown.

"Investigators are extremely concerned about the F150 driver’s well-being as he was involved in a high speed collision, and evidence at the scene suggests he is injured," said B.C. RCMP Staff Sgt. Janelle Shoihet in the release.

The driver of the SUV was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.

The incident occurred in the northbound lanes of the highway in front of the Oyster Bay Store. Northbound traffic was being rerouted through the gas station at the store, while southbound traffic was reduced to a single lane.

B.C. Emergency Health Services told CTV News Vancouver Island four patients had been treated as a result of the three-vehicle collision. Two of the people injured were treated at the scene and then transported to hospital.

Five ground ambulances responded to the scene, as well as an air ambulance, but fire crews from North Oyster Fire Department said no one was transported by air.

Fire crews from Ladysmith Fire Department also responded to the scene to help extricate people from the vehicles. According to firefighters at the scene, at least two people were trapped and needed to be extracted.

CTV News has reached out to the BC Coroners Service for confirmation of any fatalities that may have resulted from the crash. This story will be updated if and when a response is received.

Police said a traffic reconstructionist has been called to assist in the investigation, and is working to determine the cause of the crash. Traffic flow will be limited to a single lane in each direction during the investigation, police said, urging drivers to avoid the area.

The BC Coroners Service is also investigating.

Police are asking anyone who witnessed the crash who has not already spoken to them to call South Island Traffic Services at 250-416-0352.

With files from CTV News Vancouver Island's Alanna Kelly and Andrew Garland