Marty and Janine Vanee, of Fort MacLeod, Alta., with their three children. (Photo submitted/Black Press Media)

Family on way to a wedding when girl, 4, killed in Kootenay highway crash

The Alberta family was travelling through B.C. for a wedding when their RV was in a serious collision

The tight-knit town of Fort MacLeod, Alta., is grieving the loss of one of their youngest community members, after she died in a fiery car crash near Creston this week.

Marty and Janine Vanee were travelling with their three children, ages seven, four and three, in an RV along Highway 3 on Monday morning, when a Saturn SUV crossed the centre line and collided with them head-on. The RV rolled onto its back and caught fire.

READ MORE: Four-year-old girl one of two killed in highway crash near Creston

The four-year-old, a girl named Emmy, had been sleeping the back and was killed. The driver of the SUV, a 26-year-old man from the Cranbrook area, also died.

Marty remains in hospital, undergoing several surgeries to repair a broken foot, hip, ribs and nose.

Meanwhile, their community has been donating thousands to an online fundraiser in their name that, as of Wednesday morning, has already raised more than $24,000.

“Everyone knows everyone” in the 3,000-person town of Fort MacLeod, Martina Van Hierden said.

“They are very known in the community within the churches and everyone is trying to help out,” she told Black Press Media by phone.

Van Hierden said the Vanees were on their way to meet family at a campground in Castlegar, as part of a road trip to Chilliwack for the wedding of one of Marty’s 13 siblings.

The entire family is heartbroken by the loss of Emmy, she added, describing the girl as a “happy go getter” who was excited about entering Kindergarten in two weeks.

“I have to tell you, Emmy always had a smile on her face and was sweet and happy.”

Marty, born and raised in Fort MacLeod, works with many of his siblings at their father’s construction company, Van Hierden said. The funds raised will give him time to heal from his serious injuries.

Police are continuing to investigate the incident, though evidence suggests the driver of the SUV was returning home after leaving late from the Shambhala Music Festival near Salmo.

Impairment hasn’t been confirmed, but Van Hierden said she hopes others see how much damage it can cause.

“We hope that people wake up and stop doing drinking and doing drugs before driving,” she said, adding that she had gone through a few police roadside checks herself on her way to the Castlegar campground.

She said the family is leaning on their christian faith to get through.

“They’re devastated, but they have their faith in God,” she said. “That’s how they are coping.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Warmer fall weather could extend wildfire season: AccuWeather

Above seasonal temperatures are expected throughout September, October and November

Town experiments with protecting eroding brown bridge deck

Unusual wear and tear on the decking of Princeton’s brown bridge has… Continue reading

Word on the Street: Festivalgoers at the 27th annual Salmon Arm Roots and Blues

The Observer asked: Where are you from and what brought you to the festival?

New Penticton/Kelowna transit route ready to roll out

Route 70 Penticton/Kelowna will provide a direct trip to Kelowna from Penticton and Summerland

The Offspring and Sum41 ready to rock Penticton

The Offspring and Sum 41 will stop in Penticton to the South Okanagan Events Centre

VIDEO: Title of 25th Bond movie is ‘No Time to Die’

The film is set to be released in April 2020

Suspect drops white powder running from police near Kelowna playground

Kelowna RCMP responded to reports of two individuals swinging a chain in a park

Rosemount cooked diced chicken linked to listeria case in B.C.

The symptoms of listeria include vomiting, nausea, fever, muscle aches

B.C. seniors allowed more choice to stay in assisted living

Province doesn’t need to wait for a complaint to investigate care, Adrian Dix says

Power up: UBC Okanagan researchers designing battery that packs more punch

It’s a collaboration between the university and B.C.-based tech companies

Liberals block hearings into scathing ethics report on SNC-Lavalin affair

Dion concluded in his report last week that Trudeau broke the Conflict of Interest Act

Infamous Okanagan motel to appeal being boarded up

‘The people that are living there today are compromised by the fact that they have to live there’

Keremeos business owner affected by Telus outage for two weeks

Franchise owner of HR Block Teresa DeWit says Telus “dropped the ball” in informing clients

Retired Richmond fisherman wins record-breaking $60M Lotto Max jackpot

Joseph Katalinic won the biggest Lotto Max prize ever awarded

Most Read