Family and friends of 53-year-old Ken (Kenny) William Brown gathered at the Chase Community Hall last Friday to remember this well-loved man.
Brown was killed the night of Saturday, July 3 when an 18-foot Campion runabout speedboat collided with the 40-foot houseboat he was driving, lodging itself in the cabin of the houseboat.
Brown was raised in Chase and the Shuswap, and worked for CP Rail for 22 years. His obituary notes that he loved boating, golfing, parasailing, travelling and spending time with family and friends.
Leon Reinbrecht of Celista was driving the speedboat when it collided with Brown’s houseboat.
Reinbrecht told reporters he would like to explain what happened, but he has retained a lawyer who has advised him not to talk about the crash.
He would say only: “I feel terrible about it and there’s not much I could have done. It’s something that happened and they’ll figure out everything in the investigation.”
When the crash occurred in Magna Bay on Shuswap Lake about 11:20 p.m. that Saturday, boats were leaving the area after watching Canada Day weekend fireworks.
Thirteen people, including a baby, were onboard the houseboat, and three were on the speedboat. All the people involved were local residents.
It was miraculous, say some observers, that not more people were killed when the speedboat embedded itself tightly inside the midsection of the houseboat. One witness suggested that a steel wakeboard tower on the speedboat might have slowed it down as it entered the houseboat, possibly saving lives.
Eight people were taken to Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. The baby was not injured. All but two people were released on Sunday, and the remaining man and woman were discharged Wednesday.
Sgt. Troy Beauregard of the Chase detachment said the investigation could take a month or more, because there are so many witnesses and so much evidence involved.