Two killed in central Alberta crash

EDMONTON – Three Filipino workers killed in a highway crash Saturday afternoon were returning to Rocky Mountain House from language classes in Red Deer, RCMP said Sunday.

“The two who died, they were just newly married, two months ago,� said Lyla Gray, community services leader for the Edmonton Filipino Seventh-day Adventist Church.

They worked at the Dairy Queen in Rocky Mountain House, said Gray, who was getting calls Sunday from people in the Filipino community wanting to donate money to support the families.

“I was so shocked and I’m sure everybody, all the Filipinos in Edmonton, are shocked because of what’s happened,� Gray said.

Two men and a woman in a Ford Mustang died. A 25-year-old man, the Mustang’s driver, was in critical condition Sunday at the University of Alberta Hospital after the car collided with a five-ton moving truck.

Saturday’s incident was the second fatal crash on Alberta highways involving temporary foreign workers from the Philippines in three weeks. Four workers from the Philippines died Nov. 22 near Leduc.

Saturday’s crash happened just before 3 p.m. Saturday, east of Rocky Mountain House on Highway 11 near Range Road 42, police said.

The Mustang was westbound when it lost control and hit the north ditch.

After trying to get back on the road, the vehicle wound up facing east in the east­bound lane and was rear-ended by the approaching five-ton truck carrying two men.

The driver and passenger in the moving truck were not injured, police said.

“They’re quite horrible, those scenes,� RCMP spokesman Cpl. Leigh Drinkwater said. “The Mustang was crushed.�

Rocky Mountain House Mayor Fred Nash said the most recent census numbers showed there were about 500 Filipino temporary foreign workers in the community of about 7,500 people.

“It’s very sad,� Nash said. “We have a fairly large Filipino community and unfortunately this tragedy happens. They’re a very hard-working community and it just hurts.�

Esmeralda Agbulos, honorary consul general for the Philippines based in Edmonton, said she is working to get more information about funeral arrangements and what people can do to help.

Agbulos helped organize a funeral and started a trust fund to support the families of the four Filipino workers who died three weeks ago south of Edmonton.

The Nov. 22 crash near Leduc killed Archie Bermillo, Romil Mose, Rosalina Tipdas and Eva Janette Caperina. They died when their car hit an icy patch and slid into an oncoming tractor trailer on Highway 21.

“We haven’t healed from the first one,� Agbulos said. “There’s a lot to do. I’m just overwhelmed.�

Police were trying to contact relatives of the dead, Drinkwater said.

“There was freezing rain earlier in the day and it could have contributed to the collision, and they’re saying possibly driver inexperience with those types of road conditions,� he said Sunday afternoon.

RCMP are still investigating the crash and had not released the names of the people who died Sunday.

The Condor and Rocky Mountain House fire departments responded to the scene, as well as STARS air ambulance and the provincial ambulance service.

Highway 11, also known as the David Thompson Highway, runs from Red Deer to Banff National Park.

The scene of the collision was near the hamlet of Condor, 30 kilometres west of Sylvan Lake.

asands@edmontonjournal.com

aross@edmontonjournal.com

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