The close-knit community of Sorrento is in mourning after a car crash on Sunday took the lives of three members of a family with a long history in the small town.
“They were great people,” said Susan Bungay, who managed Pat and Doug Janzen’s slo-pitch team. “They were an amazing family. Our town is suffering right now.”
The car’s driver, 47-year-old Doug, and his two daughters 19-year-old Alli and 13-year-old Cassidy, were killed after crashing head-on with an SUV on Highway 7 about 120 kilometres southwest of Saskatoon Sunday.
Doug and Alli died on scene while Cassidy succumbed to her injuries later that evening after being taken to Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon.
Mother Pat Janzen, 42, as well as the couple’s third child, 16-year-old Cody were also in the vehicle. Pat is in critical condition with life-threatening injuries. Cody, who was sitting behind his mother, is expected to recover fully from unspecified injuries, according to police.
Barry Stokes, president of the Sorrento and Area Community Association, said while he wasn’t close to the family, he knows the loss will greatly affect the community of fewer than 1,500.
“They were a long-time Sorrento family so the impact is large on the community,” said Stokes.
The family was very close — even the teenaged siblings expressed easy affection for each other in online postings. They travelled together often, enjoying various activities like horseback riding and snowmobiling with friends.
Doug operated Sorrento Tree Topper, a tree removal company, while Pat did the books.
Alli, a popular, bright-eyed, blonde 19-year-old, graduated from Salmon Arm secondary school in 2011. She was a first-year arts student at the Salmon Arm campus of Okanagan College.
Cassidy was a Carlin Middle School student and member of the Sorrento YOUth Group, run by North and South Shuswap Community Resources. She loved badminton and horses.
Cody is currently in Salmon Arm secondary school and has just received his learner’s license. His last Facebook posting was taken Friday during the family trip — a photo of Alli sipping on a drink near Prince Albert, Sask.
The North Okanagan Shuswap School District said in a statement that a crisis team has been dispatched to several schools Monday morning “to try to help students and staff cope with the tragic accident” and they will stay “as needed.”
"Our hearts go out to the family and community as they deal with this tragedy and work through this difficult time," stated Supt. Dave Witt in an email.
The family was reportedly attending a family wedding in Saskatchewan when the accident happened.
It was just after noon as Janzen attempted to pass a westbound transport truck while driving westbound on Highway 7 that his vehicle crashed head-first with an eastbound SUV carrying two Saskatchewan men, 56 and 30.
RCMP said it was raining at the time of the collision, leading them to believe weather and visibility was a factor because of spray from the transport truck.
The two occupants of the SUV were taken to hospital in the nearby community of Rosetown before being transported to Royal University Hospital. One man is listed in serious condition and the other is expected to fully recover. They have not been identified.