A 45-year-old Saskatchewan man has been charged with several impaired driving-related offences following a crash northeast of Edmonton in September that left two teens dead and seriously injured a third.
Kai Keithan Peters, 16, and Alexandra Ollington, 17, of Sherwood Park, Alta., were killed in a crash on Highway 21 just north of Township Road 542 at around 9:10 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 17.
Morgan Maltby, 15, of Fort Saskatchewan, was also in the vehicle with the teens. Her family allowed RCMP to share that she remains in hospital.
“She does have life-altering injuries but they’re hopeful that she’ll be able to be released soon to some form of rehabilitation,” said Insp. Mike McCauley, officer in charge of the Fort Saskatchewan RCMP.
“She will have a long road ahead but they’re hopeful she can start that process and start to kind of rebuild her life after such a tragedy.”
The teens were in an SUV that was travelling south on Highway 21 when it was hit by a northbound pickup truck driving in the south lane, RCMP said at the time of the crash.
The RCMP said the complex investigation since the crash included a collision analyst and forensic reconstructionist at the scene, collecting substantial witness evidence and medical information and a laboratory analysis of the driver’s blood alcohol content.
“An investigation like this does take a lot of time,” McCauley explained. “Not only is there a lot of time at the front end with interviews and the examination of the scene, but there’s also forensic lab work that needs to be done and compiling of evidence and piecing everything together and our traffic reconstructionists doing their work.
“All those things culminated to the time delay but we’re happy to be able to lay these charges now and provide hopefully some closure to the families,” he said.
“They’re still clearly in the stages of grief. This tragedy has impacted them enormously, as you can imagine. At the end of the day, there is some relief that charges have been laid but their healing is ongoing and is going to continue.”
McCauley said both Fort Saskatchewan and Sherwood Park are close-knit communities. They’re still reeling from the crash, he said.
“We’re extremely sorry for the families of these victims and we wish Ms. Maltby all the best in her recovery.”
On Tuesday, police said Christopher D. Rempel of Caronport, Sask., has since been charged with one count each of operation of a motor vehicle while impaired, causing death and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, causing death in the deaths of Peters and Ollington.
Rempel is also charged with operation of a motor vehicle while impaired, causing bodily harm and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm to Maltby.
“The families of the three victims of this crash expressed their relief that this investigation has led to charges,” Cpl. Devon Lafreniere said on behalf of the families’ representative.
“Waiting for this news has been hard on the families, and while they understand that the ongoing criminal process will continue to be challenging, it is finally a step forward.”
Lafreniere said the RCMP and its Victim Services Unit will continue to support the families through their long road ahead.
“We’re all human and most of us have children of our own,” McCauley added. “I can’t imagine the pain and suffering going through these families.
“We do work very hard as an organization — and I work hard as the officer in charge of the Fort Saskatchewan RCMP — to ensure as much as we can that people have access to any services they need to work on any mental health issues that might arise, because these tragedies do hit home hard and they do have lingering effects.”
Rempel is scheduled to appear in court in Fort Saskatchewan on Dec. 10.