RCMP recommend criminal negligence charge in Kelowna crane collapse

B.C. Prosecution Service will consider whether to proceed with the charge

RCMP recommend criminal negligence charge in Kelowna crane collapse

In a development that marks a significant milestone in the aftermath of the tragic crane collapse in downtown Kelowna in July of 2021, the Kelowna RCMP Serious Crime Unit has concluded its investigation and is recommending criminal negligence charge.

According to a statement released by the authorities earlier today, the investigation has been meticulously conducted, with a comprehensive report now submitted to the BC Prosecution Service (BCPS) for charge assessment. The focus of the potential charges lies on Criminal Negligence Causing Death, a matter of grave concern in a case that has deeply impacted the community.

"This investigation included dozens of police officers and countless hours of evidence gathering and analysis," affirmed Kelowna Superintendent Kara Triance. "The gravity of this incident and the associated work to understand what happened has been tremendous. We will work to support our partners and our community through the next steps."

While the details of the investigation and its findings remain undisclosed at this juncture, the Kelowna RCMP emphasizes the complexity of the process and the necessity of ensuring the integrity of the investigation. Collaborating closely with the BCPS, the authorities aim to equip decision-makers with a comprehensive understanding of the case to facilitate informed decisions on potential charges.

The crane collapse occurred at the construction site of the Brooklyn residential tower on St. Paul Street in downtown Kelowna at approximately 11:30 a.m. on July 12, 2021. The crane toppled and crashed into a nearby office tower.

Among the victims were construction workers Cailen Vilness and Jared Zook, as well as brothers Eric and Patrick Stemmer, who were part of the Stemmer Construction family business, which held the crane operating contract. Brad Zawislak, an employee of Protech Consulting, was also tragically killed when he was buried under the rubble of the collapsing crane. His body was discovered two days later.

Several lawsuits have been filed against Mission Group and Stemmer Construction.

The community, still reeling from the aftermath of the tragic event, awaits anxiously as the legal proceedings unfold. With the prospect of charges looming, the focus now shifts towards seeking justice for the victims and their families while grappling with the broader implications of safety and accountability in construction practices.