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

VIDEO: Townhouse fourth Maple Ridge blaze in less than a day

UPDATE: Fire victims have much to be thankful for, despite loss of pets on Thanksgiving Day

ON COOKING: Embrace the experience, from beginning to end

A passion for cooking can easily be rekindled according to this chef and culinary instructor

Nostalgic trip down TV theme song lane at ACT in Maple Ridge

Juno nominee jazz artist John Stetch will share his love for television themes

Win and a tie for Maple Ridge secondary

Ramblers beat Garibaldi, tied with Gleneagle

B.C.’s rural paramedic program expands, with home support

Advanced care ambulance staff added for six communities

BC Ferries sees steady traffic of post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Ferries filling up fast, sailing waits at some terminals

‘Save the kids!’ Dorian survivor tells the harrowing story of his Canadian wife’s death

Family held a funeral and placed Alishia Liolli’s remains in a niche at a cemetery in Windsor, Ont.

Okanagan woman, 91, votes at advance polls despite broken hip, shoulder and wrist

Angela Maynard has voted in almost every election during her lifetime

Heiltsuk Nation open first Big House in 120 years in northern B.C.

Opening means the community now has an appropriate space for spiritual and ceremonial events

Singh says NDP would form coalition with the Liberals to stop Tories

Singh was in a Liberal-held riding Sunday afternoon in Surrey where he was pressed about his post-election intentions

‘My heart goes out to the mother’: B.C. dad reacts to stabbing death of Ontario boy

Carson Crimeni, who was also 14, was bullied relentlessly, his dad says

BC Ferries filling up fast with post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Monday anticipated to be busiest day of the weekend

The one with the ‘Friends’ photoshoot: Kelowna group recreates TV show intro

A friend’s departure prompted them to create something that really says, “I’ll be there for you”

Most Read