Four people are dead and a woman critically injured after a head-on collision on Hwy 2 near Innisfail late Sunday.
Police say an SUV heading northbound in the southbound lanes collided with another SUV about 11:15 p.m.
“It started around Bowden and ended around Innisfail in a head-on collision,” said Sgt. Blaine Heather of Alberta Sheriff Highway Patrol.
Two men and two women in the southbound vehicle were pronounced dead at the scene. Another female passenger, 28, was taken to Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre and then airlifted by STARS to Edmonton’s University of Alberta Hospital in critical condition. All were from Edmonton.
RCMP Const. Doug Dewar said it is not known if the victims are related. It is believed that the victims included temporary workers from the Philippines.
The two deceased men were 35 and the women were ages 52 and 39. Names have not been released pending notification of next of kin.
Charges are pending against the driver and lone occupant of the other vehicle. The 29-year-old Cochrane man was treated and released from hospital in Red Deer.
RCMP said he refused to provide a breath sample and remains in custody. He was expected to appear in Red Deer provincial court on Monday afternoon. His name and any charges have not yet been released.
The collision happened about 750 metres north of the Cottonwood Road overpass near Innisfail and the wreckage covered both lanes. The southbound lanes were shut down for about three hours while the scene was cleared. Traffic was diverted to roads west of the highway.
Dewar described the scene as “gruesome” and said the vehicle the five were travelling in was “completely destroyed.”
Road conditions were good at the time of the collision, although it started to snow as the wreckage was removed.
Innisfail RCMP, the Hwy 2 Integrated Traffic Unit and fire and ambulance services from Innisfail responded.