All charges dropped against Morley man accused in drunk driving crash that killed 2, injured 5

All charges have been dropped against a Morley man accused of killing two people and injuring five others in a suspected drunk driving crash.

McFarland Kootenay, 35, was set to go on trial Monday on charges of impaired driving causing death, criminal negligence causing death, impaired driving causing bodily harm and criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

When his witnesses failed to show up on the first day of trial, prosecutor Doug Simpson was forced to stay Kootenay’s 10 charges related to the rollover.

Defence lawyer Alain Hepner said had the case gone to trial, the issue would have been whether his client was the one driving at the time of the crash.

The rollover happened in April 2016 on the Trans-Canada Highway near Hermitage Road. 

A passenger van carrying seven adults was travelling eastbound when it lost control and rolled multiple times, coming to rest in a ditch.

Five people were thrown from the vehicle. Travisha Powderface and Charlie Bearspaw, who were both in their 30s, died at the scene. 

Those who weren’t ejected from the van had to be extracted.

Police said at the time that none of the people in the van were wearing seatbelts.

Everyone in the van was from Morley, part of the Stoney Nakoda First Nation. At the time of the crash, the victims’ family members described the crash as “devastating” to the community.

When charges are stayed, a prosecutor has one year to reactivate the case but that almost never happens.

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