Booze, drugs, speed led to deadly highway crash in Vernon: Coroner

Chantal Bazin and Kayla Cartwright pictured at a memorial service in Kelowna.

VERNON - Speed, drugs and alcohol were factors in a car crash that claimed the lives of two young Kelowna women last summer, according to the B.C. Coroners Service.

Chantal Bazin, 22, and Kayla Elizabeth Cartwright, 26, died July 11, 2015 when their car collided with an oncoming vehicle on the Highway 97 overpass at the north side of Vernon. Both women died at the scene.

A report by coroner Margaret Janzen states the women were on their way home from the drive-in movie theatre around midnight. Bazin was at the wheel of the 2002 Nissan Sentra sedan, and Cartwright in the passenger seat. As they were going around the curve on the overpass, the Nissan swerved across the centre line and struck an oncoming 2011 Volkswagen Jetta.

The Nissan was torn in two as a result of the collision, with the back half of the vehicle falling off the overpass onto the on-ramp below, Janzen says.

The posted speed limit in the area is 90 km/h, but there are a number of warning signs for westbound traffic leading to the incident site on the overpass, including two 70 km/h speed tab signs, one of them about 150 metres from the crash site.

An RCMP crash analyst determined the Nissan was travelling between 113 to 148 km/h.

A toxicology exam revealed Bazin had a blood alcohol concentration of .20 per cent, an elevated level of hydromorphone (commonly referred to as Dilaudid), and had recently used cannabis.

Janzen classified the deaths as accidental and made no recommendations.

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