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Campbell River man gets 4 years in crash that killed 2 American tourists

The 2019 collision occurred on Highway 19 approximately 10 km north of Campbell River
Campbell River, B.C., Courthouse. Photo by Alistair Taylor/Campbell River Mirror

A Campbell River man was sentenced to four years in prison for killing two American tourists and injuring three others in a September 2019 crash on the Island Highway.

Kyle Rodney O’Callaghan, 33, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing the deaths of Charlotte Van Valkenburg of Bend, Oregon and her cousin Curtis Bartley. Guilty pleas were also entered for dangerous driving causing bodily harm to Ivan Smith, Van Valkenburg’s father, and to O’Callaghan’s sisters, Breanne and Kelsey Reid. O’Callaghan was given a 3.5-year related sentence for each of the two counts of driving causing death and three six-month related sentences for the three counts of driving causing bodily harm. A five-year driving prohibition has also been imposed for after sentence is served.

The collision occurred on Highway 19 approximately 10 km north of Campbell River, on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. Van Valkenburg and Bartley were pronounced dead at the scene and O’Callaghan and the others were taken to hospital with serious injuries. Van Valkenburg and Bartley were travelling north as part of a two-car party heading to Port Hardy to catch a ferry in the rain and in wet road conditions. O’Callaghan was southbound at a high rate of speed when he lost control of his pickup truck and crossed the centre line and collided with the second of two northbound vehicles.

A victim impact statement was entered into the court proceedings by Van Valkenburg’s husband Dale, who was in the leading car. He wrote of losing his wife and companion of 32 years. A victim impact statement was also provided by Brian Bartley, younger brother of Curtis, who was in a third vehicle following further behind.

The sentencing hearing was held in B.C. Supreme Court in Campbell River, Tuesday, Sept. 12 before Justice Robin Baird.

RELATED: UPDATE: Alcohol and speed not ruled out as factors in fatal crash north of Campbell River

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