OTTAWA—Defence Minister Bill Graham, Gen. Rick Hillier and other military brass are expected to be on hand at CFB Trenton today to meet the plane carrying the remains of Pte. Braun Scott Woodfield.

Woodfield, 24, was killed in Afghanistan Thursday when the driver of his armoured vehicle swerved to avoid a head-on collision with an oncoming car, military sources say.

Woodfield, who was born in Victoria and raised in Eastern Passage, N.S., was rear sentry on the vehicle and was not driving, officials told Canadian Press on condition of anonymity.

Military sources say the LAV-3 — its inherent tippiness exaggerated by armour plates added recently to protect soldiers from explosions — rolled over after a civilian car with no headlights suddenly appeared out of the dark.

"It was a reaction by a driver who at the last second had to make a move to avoid a collision with an oncoming car that had no headlights on."

A loaded LAV-3 weighs 21 tonnes. Most Afghan vehicles are Toyota Corollas. Had the driver not swerved, "our vehicle would have been on top of the small car," said a senior military source. "So who do you think would win in such a collision?"

The accident occurred 45 kilometres northeast of Kandahar, near the village of Laghman along one of the country's best thoroughfares — the paved Highway 1 that connects Kandahar and the capital of Kabul.

The LAV-3 swerved "at the last second," flipped and ended upside down at the edge of the road. Officials do not know if the vehicle's stability was a major factor in the accident.

An investigation has begun and, consistent with military practice, a formal board of inquiry is expected to be called.

The driver had four years behind the wheel of the LAV, which is considered one of the more popular military vehicles in-theatre.

Like many armoured vehicles and SUVs, the LAV-3s can roll over under certain conditions. Several defence sources said structural issues have never been factors in 11 rollover accidents in which LAV-3s have been involved.

"There are rules and regulations and guidelines about how you drive, but accidents still happen," said an official.