A woman from Carstairs, Alta., says she was nearly hit by the same SUV that smashed head-on into a vehicle carrying five Filipino workers on the QE II Highway near Innisfail Sunday night, killing four of them and seriously injuring another.
Lisa Mason says she was driving home when she encountered the SUV approaching on the wrong side of the highway near Bowden, Alta.
"He's coming straight at us and just at the last minute, I swerved and he swerved away from us," Mason told CBC News.
"So I don't know if he was playing chicken with us. I kind of watched him in my rearview mirror and he did the same thing to the guy behind us."
Tyler James Stevens, 29, is charged with four counts each of impaired driving causing death, failing to provide a breath sample and criminal negligence in the operation of a motor vehicle causing death, plus one count each of impaired driving causing bodily harm and criminal negligence in the operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm.
Other witnesses told RCMP a northbound SUV was in a southbound lane on Highway 2 near Innisfail around 11 p.m. when it hit a car head-on, killing two men, 35, and two women, aged 39 and 52, and injuring a 28-year-old woman.
The injured passenger was taken to hospital in Edmonton where she is in serious but stable condition.
Four of the five temporary workers —including three of the deceased — were employed by the Coast Edmonton Plaza Hotel. Police are still contacting the next of kin of the victims in the Philippines.
Management at the hotel say staff are devastated by the loss.
"Everybody here at the property is like a family," said Kelli Steer, a manager with Coast Hotels. "And it's like losing our brothers and sisters."
Steer said the hotel was helping the workers gain landed immigrant status and they were working to bring their families to Canada.
"They were all amazing individuals, each one of them," she said. "Loved by their families. Breadwinners for their families and loved by the family here at Coast Hotels."
Stevens had recently moved to Innisfail from Cochrane, Alta. He made his first court appearance in Red Deer Tuesday morning.