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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police recover body of Tofino man near Hot Springs Cove

An RCMP dive team has recovered the body of a Tofino man in his 50s.

Winter hits Tofino and Ucluelet with snow and power outages

Ucluelet’s new public works foreman tackles town’s first snowfall first day on the job.

UPDATED: Itska back in owner’s arms after Oak Bay man returns dog taken from Tofino

Shannon Boothman expects to be reunited with Itska on Sunday

Tofino and Ucluelet’s Top 10 sports and arts stories of 2019

Revisiting the Coast’s best sports and arts newsmakers of the past year.

VIDEO: Nickelback gears up for nostalgia tour

Canadian band joins Stone Temple Pilots for a summer tour that includes just one stop in Canada

Province asks health-care staff to be ‘vigilant’ in screening for possible coronavirus cases

This comes after U.S. health officials confirmed a case of the virus in Washington State

University of Victoria tells stories of Holocaust survivors with graphic novels

International storytelling initiative launched first meetings this winter

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

B.C. player becomes only second Canadian to enter Hall of Fame of Baseball

Walker received 76.6 percent of the Baseball Writers of America Association vote

PHOTOS: Heavy snowfall breaks window, causing avalanche into B.C. newsroom office

It was a chaotic start to the week for the Kitimat Northern Sentinel

Canadian law firm launches class action on behalf of Iran flight victims

Flight 752 was shot down by Iran shortly after take off

Most Read