The Shambhala Music Festival takes place near Salmo, B.C. (Google Maps)

Four-year-old girl one of two killed in highway crash near Creston

The 26-year-old driver of a Saturn SUV was also killed

A four-year-old girl was one of two people killed in a crash on Highway 3 west of Creston.

An eastbound Saturn SUV had crossed the centre line on Monday around 10 p.m. and collided head-on with an RV carrying a family of five on vacation from southwestern Alberta, Cpl. Mike Halskov of the BC RCMP’s traffic unit said.

“The RV left the highway and came to a rest on its roof and caught fire,” he said in a news release.

A four-year-old girl who’d been sleeping in the back of the RV was killed.

The driver of the Saturn, a 26-year-old man from the Cranbrook area, also died. Halskov declined to release his name because of privacy concerns.

Evidence suggests the driver was returning home after leaving late from the Shambhala Music Festival in the West Kootenay. Impairment has not been ruled out.

“Our hearts are broken by this tragic news. Our deepest sympathies and condolences are with the families and loved ones,” said festival owner and president Jimmy Bundschuh, a father of a four-year-old himself, in a message to Black Press Media.

“We have an intensive ‘Get Home Safe’ campaign, from communication campaigns on the festival grounds and online, through to traffic control and an additional music-free day to restm” he added. “The precise details of the specific incident are not yet fully available and until such a time as they are, it is impossible for us to comment in more detail.”

READ MORE: B.C. boy killed after semi-trailer slams into SUV in Alberta

Investigators have not been able to determine whether the girl had been wearing a seat belt because the RV is so damaged, Halskov said.

“Without losing sight of the bigger picture here, regardless if belts were used or not, this collision would not have occurred had it not been for the actions of the other driver,” he said. “Our thoughts are with the young girl’s family at this difficult time.”

Mounties from the surrounding detachments would have stepped up enforcement both during and after the festival, he went on, to make sure, among other things, drivers are not impaired or overtired after the multi-day event.

“Police remind all drivers of the dangers of impaired driving which kills 68 people in B.C. every year, on average.”

Anyone with information, including any dash camera video, is asked to call East Kootenay Traffic Services at 250-420-4244.

This is a corrected story. Information had previously been attributed to East Kootenay Traffic Services.

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