The driver of a vehicle that crashed into a car on First Avenue killing three of its occupants and injuring another was arrested and charged with several offences today (Sept. 25, 2020), including dangerous driving causing death.
Reid McKnight, 31, was involved the the crash early on the morning of Sunday, Nov. 3 last year when a blue 2019 Ford Ranger went through the intersection at Battle Street and First Avenue and hit a 2008 red Dodge Charger carrying four Thompson Rivers University international students.
RCMP allege McKnight was driving at excessive speed on Battle Street when he went through a stop sign about 1:30 a.m. and collided with the Charger heading south on First. The Ford Ranger fled the scene.
The three men who died were aged 22, 27 and 30, and the survivor is 24. All were residents of Kamloops at the time.
“Our investigation revealed the four men in the Charger were international students and alumni from Thompson Rivers University,” said Staff Sgt. Simon Pillay.
“They had spent the evening in downtown Kamloops and were responsibly using a designated driver to get themselves home safely. At the time of the collision, these men were doing exactly what they should have been doing and in no way contributed to collision.”
Kamloops RCMP Serious Crime Unit assumed control of the investigation. At about 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 3, 2019 the registered owner of the Ford Ranger, McKnight, was located at his home and arrested, said Pillay. McKnight was released from custody later that day while the investigation continued.
On Nov. 4, investigators executed a search warrant at McKnight’s residence “where evidence and firearms unrelated to the collision were seized.
“Through the course of this investigation several technical investigative processes were used to forensically examine the collision scene, seize biological evidence, secure digital evidence and locate conventional evidence. This information was compiled, analyzed and sent to the B.C. Prosecution Service for charge assessment.”
The charges laid against McKnight after today’s arrest are as follows:
1. Operate a vehicle that was involved in an accident with another vehicle, and knowing that (or being reckless as to whether) that accident resulted in death, failed to stop, contrary to Section 320.16 (3) of the Criminal Code;
2. Dangerous Driving Causing Death (X3 counts) contrary to Section 320.13(3) of the Criminal Code;
3. Careless storage of a firearm, contrary to Section 86(1) of the Criminal Code;
4. Storage of firearms contrary to regulation, contrary to Section 86(2) of the Criminal Code.
“It is not uncommon for police to identify a suspect early in an investigation but require additional time to investigate and analyze evidence,” Pillay stated.
“There were some technical aspects to this case that took significant time and effort to secure. To meet the rigorous standards our judicial system requires, we seek to complete our investigations to the highest possible standards, but this takes time, which I know can be distressing to those waiting for answers.
“We turned to the public for help several times in this case to identify additional witnesses. As ususal, the citizens of Kamloops answered these calls and several people came forward with very important information. The RCMP would specifically like to thank those who rushed to the aid of these men, many jumping out of bed and running into the street to render assistance.
“Several businesses and organizations also cooperated with police requests for things like surveillance video and it is that fulsome community support that brings justice to those adversely affected by criminal acts.”
McKnight will appear in court on a date yet to be determined.