Four temporary foreign workers from the Philippines were killed in central Alberta Sunday night in a head-on crash involving a suspected drunk driver.
Witnesses told police a northbound SUV was in a southbound lane on Highway 2 near Innisfail around 11 p.m. when it hit an oncoming vehicle, killing four people — two men, 35, and two women, aged 39 and 52 — and injuring a 28-year-old woman.
The injured passenger was taken to hospital in Edmonton where she is in serious but stable condition.
The workers were all employed at the Coast Edmonton Plaza Hotel.
Police say they received reports that the man driving the Range Rover was travelling on the wrong side of the road for about 20 kilometres. He reportedly passed about 30 vehicles before colliding head-on with the Dodge Journey carrying the workers.
"It is a tragedy," said RCMP Const. Doug Dewar. "These folks that died in this collision, they all appear to be temporary workers in Canada, and we are going to have to be contacting next of kin out of country to advise them of their passing."
The 29-year-old man who was driving the Range Rover SUV was treated for injuries at the hospital in Red Deer.
He was arrested by RCMP after he refused to provide a breath sample and remains in custody. No names have been released pending notification of next of kin.
The deaths are a blow to members of Edmonton's Filipino community.
"They are the breadwinners," said Julie Kallal from the Council of Edmonton Filipino Communities. "They are the ones who can make a difference in the lifestyle of their families. Now think about it. They are now going to have funerals."
Community leaders are holding an emergency meeting on Monday night to figure out how they can help the surviving families.