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‘We want to remember the people’: Manitoba communities recognize anniversary of deadly crash

Click to play video: '“It felt like a long time, but I know it was seconds’: first responder on Carberry tragedy'
“It felt like a long time, but I know it was seconds’: first responder on Carberry tragedy
“We really need to bring that focus back to mental health for first responders and get ahead of these kinds of things instead of being reactive all the time," says Carberry's deputy fire chief – Jun 14, 2024

The city of Dauphin, Man., is set to unveil a new monument Saturday, commemorating the lives of 17 seniors from the area who were killed near Carberry.

June 15 marks one year since the fatal accident, when a bus of seniors on a casino trip was struck by a semi-trailer on the highway.

Dauphin mayor David Bosiak told 680 CJOB’s Connecting Winnipeg that the monument initiative involves members of the community who lost a loved one in the tragedy.

“They said there was a tremendous amount of comfort they got out of working together with the other family members to create the monument,” he said.

“As they got together somewhat informally at the beginning — but then had to meet more regularly and often as the process continued — there was a real sense of support amongst them, and that became almost therapeutic.”

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Bosiak said the goal of the monument is to remember the victims, all of whom played a part in shaping the Dauphin community.

“For some folks, I know that the anniversary date will remind them of what happened, but obviously for the family and close friends and others that were very intimately related to the people involved, it’s entirely different.

“We don’t want to remember the accident necessarily. We want to remember the people involved in it — how they impacted us and how their loss impacts our community.”

Click to play video: '‘A very chaotic, sad scene’: Manitoba RCMP on anniversary of Carberry crash'
‘A very chaotic, sad scene’: Manitoba RCMP on anniversary of Carberry crash

The Manitoba RCMP, who have said the semi had the right of way when the crash took place, have been working with officers who responded, offering trauma support.

“Even though throughout our careers we attend many tragic scenes… this one was above and beyond anything that we can comprehend,” RCMP Supt. Rob Lasson said at a press conference Thursday.

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“This was a very chaotic, sad scene to attend, and it will stick with the investigators for the rest of their lives.”

The deputy chief of the Carberry North Cypress-Langford Fire Department, who was on the scene after getting paged that morning about the crash, says it was almost a surreal experience.

“It was like a movie scene for me. I had to take a moment before I got out of the truck and kind of get handle on what was going on,” Grady Stephenson told Global Winnipeg. “It felt like a long time, but I know it was seconds …and then we went into action and started helping out wherever we could.”

Stephenson said he’s personally working with a counsellor to talk through what he experienced a year ago, and has encouraged others to do the same.

“I’ve been speaking about it, and that’s really helpful,” he said. “We really need to bring that focus back to mental health for first responders and get ahead of these kinds of things instead of being reactive all the time.”

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