Glenboro grieves after retired couple killed in highway crash
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Residents of a western Manitoba town are in mourning after a retired couple was killed in a collision with a tractor-trailer at a highway intersection Monday night.
The 91-year-old man and 86-year-old woman, identified by relatives as Ken and Shirley Dowd, were well-known in and around Glenboro, about 70 kilometres southeast of Brandon.
“They’ve been here all their lives. Just about everyone in town knows them,” said one of Ken Dowd’s cousins, who asked not to be named. “They were friends with everyone. I don’t think they had an enemy in the world.”
The Dowds had three children and ran a dairy farm before retiring, said family members contacted by the Free Press on Wednesday.
The grandparents volunteered with the Glenboro Agricultural Society, as they remained active in the community.
Relatives said they are waiting to receive more information about the crash, which happened on the outskirts of Glenboro around 7:50 p.m.
“We’re all upset. We haven’t heard anything about what happened,” said the cousin, who last saw the Dowds when he bumped into them a few weeks ago at a Canada Post office in the town, which is home to about 650 people.
“It was just, ‘Hi, how are you doing?’” the cousin said.
The Dowds’ vehicle, driven by Ken, was southbound on Highway 5 when it entered the intersection and collided with a tractor-trailer headed east on Highway 2, RCMP said.
The intersection has stop signs in both directions on Highway 5 for vehicles crossing Highway 2, where the speed limit is 100 km/h.
The Dowds, who lived on a farm in the Rural Municipality of Glenboro-South Cypress, died at the scene.
The driver of the semi-truck — a 58-year-old Souris man — had minor injuries, said police.
Carberry RCMP and a forensic collision reconstruction unit are investigating.
Police have not indicated what may have factored into the crash.
“We still get collisions there (at the intersection) all the time.”
– Fire Chief Steve Nelson
“It is still early and the investigation is ongoing,” said RCMP spokeswoman Cpl. Julie Courchaine.
The Glenboro South-Cypress Fire Department, including members who knew the Dowds, responded to the collision, along with police, paramedics and a STARS air ambulance crew from Winnipeg.
Fire Chief Steve Nelson said it was a challenging scene and firefighters “did the best they could do” under the circumstances.
He thanked Good Samaritans, who were the first on scene and gave clear information to 911 while emergency personnel rushed to the scene.
He also praised an off-duty Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service worker, who was passing by and stopped to help.
Nelson and Ken Dowd’s cousin said multiple collisions have occurred at the intersection in the past.
“For some reason, there’s been quite a few accidents at it,” the cousin said.
While the reasons for the crashes vary, Nelson said safety at the intersection has been a concern.
In recent years, Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure added flashing lights to the stop signs and cut rumble strips into the surface of Highway 5 to warn drivers as they approach the intersection.
“We still get collisions there all the time,” said Nelson.
He is among those who’ve been pushing for a reduced speed limit on Highway 2 throughout the area.
Nelson would like to see it lowered to at least 80 km/h.
“It would just give you a little bit more reaction time, maybe,” he said.
In response to traffic around the crash scene, as news of the tragedy spread, the fire department on Tuesday posted a Facebook message asking the public to avoid active incidents.
“The higher volume of traffic at active incidents depletes valuable resources,” the post stated. “It also increases the chance of one of our members or another member of the public being injured.”
As a general assignment reporter, Chris covers a little bit of everything for the Free Press.
Updated on Wednesday, July 6, 2022 8:50 PM CDT: Fixes typo