Family members have identified three seniors from Raymond, Alta. who died in a single-vehicle crash near Lethbridge on Wednesday.
The casualties, all in their 80s, were killed when a Ford Freestar minivan drove off a curved stretch of Highway 845, south of Highway 4, just before a railway crossing.
The vehicle’s occupants were 80-year-old David Still and his two sisters: 85-year-old Lois Tillack and 83-year-old Lola Flexhaug.
Combined, the siblings had 17 children, 58 grandchildren and 69 great-grandchildren.
Coaldale RCMP said the minivan entered a deep ditch before coming to a rest on the train tracks.
All three were pronounced dead when emergency crews arrived on scene.
“It appears through our investigation that the corner was not taken at a proper rate of speed and the minivan went through the ditch, and then jumped over the ditch and landed on the north bank of the ditch,” said Staff Sgt. Glen Henry.
The crash occurred on a stretch of road where the speed limit drops from 100 kilometres an hour down to a suggested 65 km/h.
The province’s Ministry of Transportation says a 60 km/h speed limit was in place but after an inquiry in 2016, it was replaced by the suggested limit.
The ministry added a review will be completed after the police investigation to determine whether speed and safety infrastructure changes are needed in the area.
But a former traffic safety consultant with the province is questioning the government’s decision not to enforce speed, noting safety concerns along that stretch of highway.
“If you were to jump in your vehicle and try to come around that corner at 100 km/h, there would be no good reason you would feel comfortable doing that,” Kevin Brandvold said on Friday. “Hence why we should probably look at reinstating the 60 km/h speed zone there.
“It’s not collateral damage to have fatalities on our highways, as a cost of using our highways. It just doesn’t have to happen.”
Brandvold, who is now retired and lives in Raymond, drives on Highway 845 on a regular basis and says the traffic division of the ministry should take a leading role at making roads safer for motorists.
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