August 23rd, 2019

Twin Hwy 3 now: crash victim’s mom

By GILLIAN SLADE on August 14, 2019.

gslade@medicinehatnews.com@MHNGillianSlade

A grieving mother is calling on the provincial government to twin Highway 3 before anyone else dies.

Jeanine Hayashi’s daughter Kayley, 18, died Aug. 3 in a fiery crash on this highway, east of Taber.

“I don’t know how many more people it is going to take before the government does something about it,” said Jeanine. “It is extremely unfortunate that this crash had to occur in order for the government to see the need for a divided highway. Other people have already died on this highway.”

A press release after the collision indicated Kayley was 19 but Jeannine says she was in fact only 18.

Kayley had driven to Medicine Hat from Lethbridge to visit her boyfriend. She phoned her mom to say she was on her way home again.

“The next thing I knew, the RCMP were at my door notifying me that she had passed away,” said Jeanine. “It was awful. It’s the most devastating news my husband and I have ever encountered. It will obviously affect me for the rest of my life.”

It had been a head-on crash with a semi-trailer. Jeanine says Kayley’s car was engulfed in flames and her remains had to be identified by a serial number on a metal plate that had been placed in her left arm during surgery some time ago.

The driver of the semi was taken to hospital and then released.

Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes spoke to the News following the crash and said twinning the highway will save lives and should be a high priority for his UCP government.

Barnes, who has been on a committee regarding twinning the highway for about seven years, says there are letters of support from municipalities along the route.

“The last government provided $10,000 out of the $25,000 cost to update a study (about feasibility and need for twinning) from about five or 20 years ago,” said Barnes. “That’s how long we’ve been talking about this.”

Barnes figures a contract to do the work would probably be cheaper right now than during a better economic time, and says a project like this would provide jobs.

“It is absolutely time for the Alberta government and taxpayers to do this project,” said Barnes. “The taxpayers should get more value and we should be able to put hardworking Albertans back to work.”

Jeanine says Kayley was about to go to cosmetology school, her life was on track, she was happy and then it all ended.

“We are still grieving but at the same token … I decided it is time to get something done. I’m putting the word out there that it (the highway) needs to be changed,” said Jeanine.

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