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Parents of teen killed in 2021 Muskoka boat crash say other boater involved was impaired

Click to play video: 'Parents of 13-year-old girl killed in Lake Rosseau boat crash say other boat driver involved collision was impaired'
Parents of 13-year-old girl killed in Lake Rosseau boat crash say other boat driver involved collision was impaired
WATCH: The parents of a 13-year-old girl killed in a Lake Rosseau boat crash say other boat driver involved collision was impaired. Quinn Cammaert was killed, and her mother suffered critical injuries, in a 2021 boat crash. Catherine McDonald reports – May 17, 2024

Quinn Cammaert’s parents have been grieving quietly for nearly three years since their 13-year-old daughter was killed in a boating collision on Lake Rosseau in July 2021. The family is now breaking their silence because they want people to remember their daughter and know what really happened that night.

They described their daughter as a competitive tennis player who was not only athletic but smart, happy, vibrant and had a bright future ahead of her.

“It ruined our entire lives. People don’t think boats quite as important as cars and unfortunately they are. And we are living proof that somebody that is severely intoxicated in a boat doesn’t know what they’re doing,” Jennifer Cammaert told Global News, holding back tears.

Jennifer says she and her two children were boating home to their cottage on Toban Island after spending a day with friends on their dock near Port Carling on July 14, 2021. As they were cruising near Windermere House, the water calm, the skies clear, they suddenly collided with a motor boat being driven by a 51-year-old Oakville woman. There were also two others on board that boat, ages 17 and 23.

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The mother hit her head and fell to the floor of her boat and was left unconscious. Her 11-year-old son jumped into the lake and was rescued by some passing boaters who managed to pull him out of the water, as the Cammaert’s boat was spinning out of control. Quinn was killed as was the woman operating the other boat.

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Jennifer spent four months between Sunnybrook Hospital and Toronto Rehab and had to learn how to walk, talk, eat and breathe again. Sadly, she missed her own daughter’s funeral. She also missed a meeting with the Ontario Provincial Police but investigators met with her husband, Matt Cammaert, to tell him what they’d learned during their investigation.

“The OPP told us the driver of the other vessel was impaired, significantly over the blood alcohol level,” said Matt, who explained that investigators said. “Alcohol was a major factor in the collision. What they couldn’t tell us was the actual number of the blood alcohol for privacy reasons.”

Matt said even more upsetting is that the operator of the other boat who was killed had children with her, too. “Not only was she putting anyone on the lake at risk, she put her own children in harm’s way.”

The OPP would not comment on the investigation to Global News but in a post on X, formerly Twitter, released Friday morning by the OPP Highway Safety division, a video showing Matt Cammaert speaking at a Toronto Police Service Safe Boating Awareness Week event. In the video shared, Matt reads a sobering statement about the death of Quinn to impaired driving saying “an individual had consumed excessive alcohol, that left her blood alcohol significantly over the legal limit, made a decision to get in a boat that ultimately collided with my family.”

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Jennifer told Global News she refused a beer from her friend who offered her a drink just before they were leaving because she was driving a boat.

The couple hopes others will listen to their story and think twice before getting behind the wheel of a car or a boat impaired. They’re grateful to the doctors, nurses, dieticians, speech therapists, occupational and physical therapists and volunteers who helped Jennifer recover. “I almost died and Quinny did,” said Jennifer with tears in her eyes.

“It could have been stopped. If people see someone drinking too much, you have to stop them (from driving impaired) because it ruined our entire lives,” added Jennifer. “We are living proof that someone who is severely intoxicated in a boat doesn’t know what they’re doing.”

The family would like donations in Quinn Cammaert’s memory to be made to Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada (MADD).

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