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Driver charged in Selkirk woman's death

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The rash of drunk-driving incidents in Manitoba appears to have claimed another life.

RCMP announced today they have laid charges after a 28-year-old Selkirk woman was killed when her green Volkswagen was slammed by a pickup truck at the intersection of Vaughan Avenue and Mercy Street in Selkirk early Thursday morning.

Too many lives lost

The fatal crash in Selkirk is another in a concerning string of alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities in Manitoba over the last few weeks involving young people. Since Halloween, a total of five people have died as a result of impaired driving.

Residents near the area of the crash say the woman, a resident of Selkirk, was driving south on Mercy when the westbound truck ran a stop sign and slammed into the unsuspecting woman. Emergency crews rushed her to hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Police have not released the name of the woman, but a family friend identified her as Andrea Bannish, who lived with her husband less than two blocks from the crash scene on McLean Avenue. The couple married last month.

The impact of the collision forced the car to skid some 10 metres from the intersection and through the opposite stop sign pole, before finally resting up against a tree on the edge of Vaughan.

On Friday morning, RCMP in Selkirk announced that 22-year-old Sean Nicholas Messner, from the RM of St. Andrews. has been charged with impaired operation of a motor vehicle causing death. He has been released from custody, and is scheduled to appear in Selkirk Provincial Court on Jan. 21, 2011.

Shattered glass and debris from the green car were all that remained Thursday afternoon as Don Winsor came out to take a look at the aftermath.

"That truck never stopped at all," said Winsor, piecing together the scene of the crash that finally woke him up at 6:30 a.m.

"There was no... well, I was still kind of sleepy, but there was no skidding tires or something. It was just an impact. The car was rocketed over against the tree. Direct hit to the driver's door.

"It sounded like someone dropped a container on the ground," Winsor added. "I thought maybe it was the recycle guys out early."

The driver of the pickup truck, a 22-year-old St. Andrews man, was not injured. Alcohol is believed to be a factor, RCMP confirm, and charges are pending against the man.

Jim Steinke lives on the corner next to the intersection.

The impact woke him out of bed and after he went to take a look at what happened, he knew right away it was bad. While the intersection has seen a few accidents and even more near-misses, he says making the two-way traffic control a full four-way stop won't prevent what happened Thursday.

"How do you stop it?" offered Steinke, who wasn't surprised to learn alcohol may have been involved. "How do you educate people?"


Updated on Friday, November 19, 2010 at 9:39 AM CST: Corrects spelling of Andrea Bannish.

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