Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Charges laid against teen motorist

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WINNIPEG police are still trying to determine the circumstances that led to Thursday's fatal crash that killed a Kelvin High School student and sent four of her schoolmates to hospital.

The 17-year-old driver of the SUV, which struck a tree at a curve on Wellington Crescent, has been charged with one count of dangerous driving causing death and three counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm.

The noon-hour crash claimed the life of Julia Romanow, 17. Four others, including the driver, all 17 years of age, were hurt.

All five in the vehicle were students at Kelvin High School.

"Speed was definitely a factor," Winnipeg police spokeswoman Patrol Sgt. Monica Stothers said, adding the investigation is ongoing.

Stothers said it appears Romanow, who was ejected from the SUV and pronounced dead at the scene, was not wearing a seatbelt.

The 2006 Pontiac Torrent went out of control at a 90-degree bend in the 1600 block of Wellington Crescent.

It's a location nearby residents said is notorious for collisions, caused by speeding drivers losing control.

One resident suspected the road design contributes to the high number of crashes. The resident said the curve slopes towards the Assiniboine River and vehicles can be forced off the roadway by the resulting centrifugal force.

The crash happened 35 years after another horrific crash on Wellington Crescent killed four area students. On Oct. 29, 1977, four 17-year-olds were killed in a crash when the car they were riding in struck a tree near Oxford Street. Two others were sent to hospital.

As grim-faced students walked to their classes at Kelvin High School Friday morning, principal Jim Brown summed up the situation in an intercom address. "It's going to be a tough day for Kelvin," he said.

Brown and other school officials visited the hospital Thursday night and spoke with the families of students injured in the crash.

-- with files from Carol Sanders and Geoff Kirbyson

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 3, 2012 A3

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