Two crash death victims named

Peter Harder, 29, of Aylmer and Neil Banman, 26, of Chatham-Kent, died after a pickup truck went into a ditch on Richmond Road between Vienna Line and Calton Line, on the boundary between Malahide and Bayham, on Saturday night, Oct. 9, at about 8:53 p.m.

A third person from that truck was also badly injured and taken to hospital for treatment.

Ontario Provincial Police Acting Sergeant Ed Sanchuk reported that the driver of a second pickup truck, a Malahide man, 26, has been charged with two counts of impaired operation of a motor vehicle causing death, two counts of operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol level over the legal limit causing death, two counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death and two counts of failing to stop at the scene of a crash.

He was being held in custody awaiting an appearance at the Ontario Court of Justice in St. Thomas at a future date.

Elgin and Norfolk OPP officers, paramedics from Elgin and Oxford counties and Bayham firefighters were sent to the scene after a report of the crash.

A/Sgt. Sanchuk said two pickup trucks had been travelling northbound on Richmond Road when one left the road, entered the ditch and rolled over several times, ejecting the driver and passenger.

One was declared dead at the scene and the other was taken to hospital, only to die there.

A third person inside the truck was taken to hospital for serious injuries that were not considered life-threatening, Sgt. Sanchuk said. The driver of the second pickup was not injured.

The road was closed for eight hours while the West Region OPP Incident Management and Enforcement Team investigated.

Anyone who might have witnessed the crash was being asked to contact Elgin OPP.

Speed, alcohol and lack of seatbelt use were being considered as contributing factors toward the crash, A/Sgt. Sanchuk noted.