British Columbia

'Hearts are just broken': woman injured in B.C. Interior crash dies

Family of Joan MacKinnon says they are 'in awe of the love everyone has shared' after fatal crash

February 08, 2018

Joan MacKinnon (left) and Clayton Murrell on horseback. Murrell's co-worker says the two were happiest when they were on their horses. (Cranbrook Professional Fire Fighters Local 1253/Facebook)

She was described as a skilled horse rider, a community-minded volunteer and a loving wife whose absence is already felt in Cranbrook, B.C.

Joan MacKinnon, a woman critically injured in a crash in B.C.'s Interior last weekend, died Wednesday in a Kelowna hospital, according to the firefighters' union her husband belonged to before he was killed in the same crash.

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Cranbrook Professional Fire Fighters Local 1253 released a statement from MacKinnon's family on social media announcing her death.

"Today our Joan has left this world to be with the man whom she loved. Joan's struggle is now over and she has peace," the statement read.

"Joan's family thanks you all for your prayers and well wishes. They are in awe of the love everyone has shared with them."

MacKinnon and her husband, fire captain Clayton Murrell, were driving in a pickup truck on Highway 3 Feb. 3 when a tractor trailer reportedly lost control on a patch of black ice, jackknifed, and veered into the oncoming lane.

Murrell was killed at the scene, as was the driver of the tractor trailer, an unidentified man from Edmonton.

Two horses in a trailer towed by the couple were also killed.

'A very happy couple'

Gregory Green, vice-president of the Cranbrook firefighters union, says he knew MacKinnon and Murrell as a giving, loving couple.

They were both outdoorsy and passionate about their horses. MacKinnon, he said, was skilled in barrel racing, a rodeo event where a rider guides her horse through a track marked by a pattern of barrels.

He said they both travelled extensively through Western Canada for barrel racing competitions on weekends.

"A very happy couple," he said. "Just by the activity on Facebook you can see they made a huge impact to a lot of people in the community.

"Because Cranbrook is such a small community, you can walk and see … people know what's going on and people's hearts are just broken."

MacKinnon was a lifeguard and volunteer coach for roping — another rodeo event — and Special Olympics, he said.

Green said MacKinnon and Murrell each had two adult children from their first marriages.

MacKinnon's family said a joint celebration of life is planned.

With files from Tanya Fletcher

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