A four-year-old girl from Alberta is among two people who died after an SUV collided with an RV on a highway near Creston, B.C. on Monday night, according to the RCMP.
In a news release issued Tuesday, police said officers responded to the crash on Highway 3 at about 10 p.m. local time.
RCMP said investigators believe an SUV that was heading east on the highway crossed the centre line and collided head-on with the RV, which was travelling west.
The RV was carrying a family of five from Alberta. Police said it went off the highway and came to a stop on its roof before catching fire.
“Four of the five occupants of the RV were able to escape the burning vehicle,” the RCMP said. “A four-year-old girl who had been sleeping in the back of the RV perished in the crash.”
Police said the 26-year-old man driving the SUV, who was the lone occupant of that vehicle, was also killed in the crash. They said he was from the region.
Police said Highway 3 was closed for several hours but has since reopened.
“At this time, there is evidence to suggest that the driver of the Saturn (SUV) was returning home after a late departure from the Shambhala Music Festival when this collision occurred,” the RCMP said. “Police have not ruled out the possibility that the driver was impaired.”
Martina Van Hierden told Global News on Wednesday that she is a friend of the family involved in Monday’s collision.
Van Hierden’s family was in the vehicle ahead of the Vanee family on Monday night.
She said the Vanee family was travelling by motorhome from Alberta to a wedding in Chilliwack, B.C. The motorhome was carrying the groom’s brother, Marty Vanee, along with his wife and three children.
Van Hierden said her family had pulled into a campground for the night and was waiting for the Vanee family to arrive at that same location but they never made it there.
“We were waiting for them at the campground in Castlegar,” she said. “We were quite worried because they didn’t show up.
“When the family tried to text them, [there was] no answer.”
At around 11:30 p.m., Van Hierden said she received news of the crash.
“We got the call from the hospital… and then Janine (Vanee) said that her husband was injured [but] the two boys are fine, but [also that] the little girl was gone.”
Van Hierden said the family is trying to remain strong at this difficult time, adding that a GoFundMe page has now been set up for the Vanee family. As of Wednesday afternoon, it had already raised more than $20,000.
“For Marty and Janine, it’s the worst to lose a child,” Van Hierden said. “But through it all, they have very strong faith in God.”
Anyone with information about or video of the crash is asked to call East Kootenay Traffic Services at 250-420-4244.
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