Shannon Shaw was on her first long-haul trucking trip and her first trip outside of Ontario. After years of doing overnight trips from London to Toronto, her new long-haul career was supposed to change her life and enable to support her twin daughters.
Then, on the early morning hours of May 7, while sleeping in the carriage of the truck, the 38-year-old was thrown from the vehicle when her long-time co-worker and friend veered off the road and into a rockwall at the side of the Trans-Canada Highway near Albert Canyon.
The crash happened at around 4:30 a.m. The driver was rushed to Queen Victoria Hospital, delirious and unresponsive to questions. It wasn’t until hours later, when the truck was removed from the scene that Shaw’s body was found. There was no chance of saving her.
“She just reached a point in her life where she was making it good for her and her goals,” said Shaw’s mother Sheila Venter. “This job was going to put her on her feet.”
Sheila and her husband Negley – Shaw’s father – were in Revelstoke last week to retrieve their daughters body. They were told that even if she was found right away, there was little chance she would have survived.
The crash took place on a winding stretch of two-lane highway about 40 kilometres east of Revelstoke. The Venters went to lay a wreath there in their daughter’s memory.
“We had a picture the police gave us,” said Sheila. “We could see there was a twist and a bend. We were looking for the rocks to identify it but there’s so many twists and turns, they all look the same.”
The driver was airlifted to Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, where he is recovering. The Venters bear no grudge against him – it very well could have been their daughter driving at that point and the roles reversed, Negley said.
When the Times Review first learned of the incident last Monday morning, the RMCP reported only one person was involved. No one knew there was a woman in the tractor until it was removed from the ditch, Staff-Sgt. Jacquie Olsen said.
“There was no indication there was another person in the vehicle,” she said, adding that the driver was not able to speak when he was treated at the scene.
Olsen said last Monday morning the accident will likely be attributed to fatigue but the investigation is ongoing.
“There’s no indication at the scene that there’s any reason for him to have gone off the road but fatigue,” she said.
Road conditions are not considered a factor in the crash.
Mike Denharen, a former co-worker of the two victims, said they had just started a long-haul trucking business and this was their first trip across the country to British Columbia.
“We just saw both of them on Friday,” he said. “We knew they were leaving on Saturday for their first trip to B.C. It’s horrible that it happened. We’re just trying to pull all the pieces together.”
As for Shaw’s parents, they visited with the local RCMP and funeral director Gary Sulz before stopping at the Times Review office to talk about their daughter. They are planning a memorial for Shannon in London, Ont. this Saturday, May 19.