A Burns Lake, B.C., mother who devoted her life to taking care of the community's youngsters was killed in a car crash along with four of the children she had taken in.
Brenda Levick, 45, and her two adopted children Starla Antoine, 12, and David Crocker, 10,and two foster children, Dean and Keanan Thomas, 9 and 11 respectively, were killed in a two-vehicle collision Monday morning just west of Prince George.
Levick, who was battling cancer for the past two years,was heading to Prince George for medical treatment when her Chevrolet Cavalier spun into an oncoming semi-trailer,killing everyone in the car.
Levick was a prominent member of the Lake Babine First Nation and lived on the Woyenne Reserve near Burns Lake. Her two foster children were from the Nak'azdli First Nation community near Fort St. James.
Lake Babine Chief Betty Patrick said the small community is in shock over the deaths.
"She was always giving of herself. She was one person you could depend on and rely on to be there in times of crisis.Losing Brenda is a real tragedy to this community," said Patrick.
Levick was a beloved advocate for children and ran morning breakfast programs and hot lunch programs in the local school, the chief said.
Chief Fred Sam of the Nak'azdli First Nation community near Fort St. James said the loss of the two foster children from that community was also very difficult.
"It's quite devastating for the family. I think those are the only two children they have — two children, and two wonderful children. I knew them briefly. I took them to school a few times," Sam said Tuesday.
"It's a great loss not just to the family but to the community. Especially at this time before Christmas, it's so hard to lose anybody."
Brenda Levick is survived by her husband, two adult children and a newborn grandchild.
RCMP said the two vehicles crashed on Highway 16, west of Lloyd Road between Vanderhoof and Prince George at about 10 a.m.
Investigators say road conditions were poor at the time, with blowing snow and poor visibility.
A police investigation is looking into whether the Cavalier may have been going too fast for the road conditions.
Police have sent both vehicles for mechanical inspection.
The truck driver was shaken up but not physically injured, police said. His truck ended up in a ditch.