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

Salmar manager draws curtain on career with Salmon Arm’s independent movie theatres

After 22 years, Daila Duford announces departure at association’s AGM

VIDEO: Salmon Arm elementary students step up for Canadian Music Class Challenge

Bastion and Hillcrest elementary schools submit videos, winners announced Dec. 17

Workshops, networking events designed for Shuswap women entrepreneurs on the way

Tsuts’weye project holds successful roundtables where valuable information gathered

‘She was awesome’: Malakwa baker leaves U.S. holiday show

‘There are Christmas miracles, look at me’

Salmon Arm ranked 7th best place to work in B.C. for 2020

Categories reflecting quality of life influence ranking

VIDEO: Federal Liberals’ throne speech welcomes opposition’s ideas

Trudeau will need NDP or Bloc support to pass legislation and survive confidence votes

EDITORIAL: Reflecting on a tragedy, 30 years later

While the Montreal Massacre made headlines because of its scale, gender-based violence is not new

Weak link in Sagmoen trial, defence says

Counsel questions whether search warrant police executed was obtained on reasonable grounds

Salmon Arm Work BC office hosts grand reopening

Services available at the office will remain similar to past offerings

VIDEO: John Lennon’s iconic Rolls Royce rolls into Vancouver Island college for checkup

Royal BC Museum, Camosun College and Coachwerks Restorations come together to care for car

North Okanagan MP says throne speech lacked specifics

‘Trudeau government presented a vague agenda,’: MP Mel Arnold

VIDEO: Rockslide closes part of Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Petition calls for appeal of ex-Burns Lake mayor’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says Luke Strimbold’s case is under review

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

Most Read