Manitoba singer Errol Ranville has been charged with careless driving in a crash that killed his wife and four other people last year, but he does not believe he was responsible for the collision, according to his lawyer.
Ranville, the lead singer of the popular Winnipeg-based country-rock band C-Weed, was the lone survivor of the fiery head-on crash near The Pas, Man., on Oct. 8, 2010.
"It's terrible — five people died, he lost his wife," Harvey Pollock, Ranville's lawyer, told CBC News on Wednesday.
"As he comes out of that accident, he's alive, and his wife's burning in the car."
Ranville and his wife, Marcie, were in a Jeep on Highway 10 just south of The Pas when it collided with a car carrying four people from the nearby Opaskwayak Cree Nation.
Marcie Ranville was pronounced dead at the scene. The four people inside the other car were also killed. Ranville himself was critically injured and doctors did not know if he would survive.
RCMP confirmed on Wednesday that Ranville has been charged with careless driving in connection with the crash.
Ranville still grieving, says lawyer
Pollock said his client is still grieving from the death of his wife and now feels worse after being charged.
"His position is that he was not responsible for this accident," Pollock said.
While Ranville does not want to blame the driver of the other vehicle, Pollock said all four people in that car had alcohol blood levels two to three times above the legal limit, while no alcohol was found in Ranville's system.
Pollock said while Ranville would rather not face the careless driving charge, it is normal for the Crown, on behalf of the public, to find out what exactly happened.
"Unfortunately for Mr. Ranville … he's in a position where he has to prove that he was not the one that was responsible for this accident," Pollock said.
RCMP say Ranville has a court appearance scheduled for Thursday in The Pas. Pollock said his client will next appear in court on Jan. 26.
Ranville was inducted into the Aboriginal Music Hall of Fame in 2005. Last month, he received a lifetime achievement award at the Aboriginal People's Choice Music Awards in Winnipeg.