NEWS

Tyler James Stevens: Alberta Man Faces Charges In Crash That Killed Four

03/06/2012 01:28 EST | Updated 05/06/2012 05:12 EDT
INNISFAIL, Alta. - The driver of an SUV that crashed into a car on a busy Alberta highway, killing four workers from the Philippines, has been charged with impaired driving.

Tyler James Stevens, 29, of Cochrane, Alta. appeared in Red Deer court Tuesday morning to face 14 charges.

The offences include impaired driving causing death, impaired driving causing bodily harm, criminal negligence in the operation of a motor vehicle causing death, criminal negligence in the operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm, and failing to provide a breath sample.

RCMP said the SUV was spotted late Sunday wildly driving the wrong way on Highway 2, a divided highway linking Calgary and Edmonton.

The SUV crashed head-on into the car near the community of Innisfail. Two men, both 35, and two women, 39 and 52, died in the crash.

A fifth person in the car, a 29-year-old woman, was seriously injured and underwent surgery Monday.

Esmerelda Agbulos, an honorary consul for the Philippines based in Edmonton, said four of the five workers in the car were employed at the Coast Edmonton Plaza hotel. The fourth was a friend who worked for another company; she was among the dead.

Agbulos said she met with friends and co-workers of the victims at the hotel on Tuesday.

"People at the hotel were all devastated and they're rallying around the one who survived," she said.

She said the workers did not have relatives in Canada, and officials are trying to contact their families in the Phillipines.

RCMP Const. Doug Dewar said the victims have been identified but it may take a few days to contact family members through official channels.

He said an off-duty police officer first noticed the SUV travelling the wrong direction on the highway between Olds and Bowden, north of Calgary.

It was swerving, and cars travelling the right direction moved to get out of its way, he said.

The SUV managed to make it 20 kilometres before the deadly crash.

Dewar said both vehicles were travelling at highway speeds. Everyone in the crash was wearing seatbelts and the vehicles deployed airbags.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version said all four dead were hotel workers.