Two drivers allegedly involved in a crash that led to the death of a prominent young leader in the Okanagan Nation are now facing Motor Vehicle Act charges.
Court records show that Megan Bates, who turns 20 this year, has been charged with failing to yield right of way on a left turn, and Jeffrey Robert Penz, who is in his late 30s, has been charged with failing to stop for a yellow light at an intersection and drive without reasonable consideration in relation to the June 8, 2010, incident in West Kelowna.
That evening, police have said that 33-year-old Ethan Baptiste was waiting to merge onto Highway 97 South when a northbound pickup turning off the highway onto Westlake Road and was hit by an oncoming semi.
The impact caused the semi to hit the Toyota Baptiste was driving, sending the two vehicles down an embankment as the semi caught fire.
Baptiste’s vehicle was pinned beneath the semi and despite efforts of bystanders to get Baptiste and his passenger out of the Toyota, Baptiste was pronounced dead a short time later.
Baptiste was born and raised in Oliver on the Osoyoos Indian Band Reserve and was a PhD candidate at UBC Okanagan at the time of this death.
The father of three spent time instructing his children in the practices and traditions of Okanagan people and was also committed to sharing his cultural knowledge at local post-secondary institutions, Okanagan National Alliance officials said following his death.
Bates is expected to make her first court appearance in late June. A court date for Penz was not indicated in court records on Tuesday afternoon.