Edmonton

'He's not coming home': Wife mourns pickup driver killed in crash near Taber, Alta.

Usiel Kanguatjivi was one of four people killed Friday morning when a pickup truck and a van collided on Highway 36, south of Highway 875.

Usiel Kanguatjivi was one of four people killed in Friday morning crash

Merlyn Kauari, her husband Usiel Kanguatjivi and their five-year-old son Alexander when he was a baby. (Submitted by Merlyn Kauari)

The wife of a pickup truck driver killed in a crash near Taber, Alta., on Friday is still coming to terms with the fact her husband is never coming home. 

Usiel Kanguatjivi, 31, of Saskatoon was one of four people killed Friday morning when the pickup truck he was driving and a van collided on Highway 36, south of Highway 875.

Merlyn Kauari has been struggling to explain his death to their five-year-old son, Alexander. 

"I don't want him to think that Dad is coming home when he's not coming home," she said.

"It's been really hard. Both our lives have changed forever." 

A spokesperson with Belectric Canada Solar Inc., which is building a solar plant near the town of Vauxhall, about 250 kilometres southeast of Calgary, confirmed the van was transporting a construction crew at the time of the collision.

Three people in the van were killed: a 25-year-old man from Edmonton, a 29-year-old man from Medicine Hat and the 26-year-old driver, a man from Camrose.

Six other van passengers remain in hospital in stable condition, RCMP Cpl. Deanna Fontaine said. There's no indication that weather was a factor in the crash, but police are awaiting a final report from a collision analyst, Fontaine said. 

Kanguatjivi's body is being moved from Calgary to Edmonton on Monday, where Kauari and other family members have been meeting to mourn.

The aspiring mechanic was humble and loving, Kauari said. He worked various labour jobs in camps, often away from their home in Saskatoon, to support his family. 

"Everywhere he went he made friends. He loved being around other people," Kauari said. "He was a family man first, very dedicated to his family."

He had started working at the Vauxhall site last November. 

'Panicking and afraid'

Kauari knew something was wrong when Kanguatjivi didn't answer his phone when she called him on Friday. At about noon, one of his co-workers called her to say there was an accident with one of the vehicles at work. 

"I was panicking and afraid for him because I knew that he was one of the drivers," she said.

She didn't find out he had been killed in the crash until a police officer came to her home at about 4 p.m. that day. 

Kauari didn't know the other victims of the crash, but sympathizes with what their families are going through. 

"Thinking that the person is gone to go and make money for the family, just thinking he's coming home, then he's killed at work," she said.

The family plans to send Kanguatjivi's body back to his birth country of Namibia. They have started a GoFundMe page to help with the costs.  

Kanguatjivi had planned to go back to the southwest African country for the first time this year after nine years in Canada. He planned to visit his mother and eventually bring his three other children from Namibia to Canada, Kauari said.

About the Author

Thandiwe Konguavi

Reporter/editor

Thandiwe Konguavi is an award-winning journalist, born in Zimbabwe. She is a reporter/editor at CBC Edmonton. Reach her at thandiwe.konguavi@cbc.ca. Follow her on Twitter @cbcthandiwe.