by Dave Preston
None of the occupants of a Chev pickup truck involved in a fatal accident Thursday night was wearing seatbelts, according to RCMP.
Sgt. Brian Nightingale told PeachlandNews.com Friday afternoon that the driver and three passengers of the truck were not belted in. Further, three of the occupants were ejected from the truck during the rollover accident. A fourth was trapped underneath.
Peachlander Mike Baxter, 20, died as a result of the accident. Delanie Smith, 17 and from West Kelowna, also died.
A 16-year-old West Kelowna female was taken to Kelowna General Hospital with life threatening injuries. A 19-year-old Peachland male was also transported to hospital. It first appeared that his injuries were critical and life threatening but RCMP updated his condition to good Friday afternoon.
A roadside memorial at the accident scene, about two kilometres west of ZipZone Adventure Park on Princeton Avenue, grew throughout the day Friday. Pictures of Baxter, numerous flower bouquets, a music CD and a can of Monster energy drink were set at the side of the road.
Tragically, Baxter was the former boyfriend of West Kelowna teen Ashlee Hyatt, who was murdered in Peachland in 2010. According to numerous posts on Facebook, Baxter was a very close friend of Hyatt’s family.
Hyatt died at a San Clemente Avenue residence at the age of 16. Another girl, also 16 at the time, is now on trial for Hyatt’s murder.
Baxter’s Facebook page has become an online memorial and friends are remembering him for being a fun loving, humor-filled, adventurous young man.
“Will always remember snowboarding with you buddy! Rest easy,” wrote W.G.
“Gone but never forgotten. The good die young. Rest in Peace Mike,” said K.C.
M.K. wrote, “Rest in peace mike, taken too soon just like your beautiful angel Ashlee.”
“You always kept the good times rolling,” said C.F.
“‘Gonna miss you and your attitude bro, and it pains me I didn’t get to say goodbye,” said C.P. “At least heaven has dirt bikes.”