Cameron Kerr, 30, was killed in a fatal hit and run on Hwy 16 when he was walking home on Nov. 18, 2018. (Facebook Photo)

Cameron Kerr, 30, was killed in a fatal hit and run on Hwy 16 when he was walking home on Nov. 18, 2018. (Facebook Photo)

‘What if?’: RCMP ID persons of interest in fatal northern B.C. hit-and-run, no charges laid

Victim’s family hope persons of interest in Lower Mainland will come forward

The question of ‘what if?’ has haunted Garrett Kerr for more than two years now.

His brother, Cameron Kerr, 30, was killed in a hit-and-run in the early hours of Nov. 18, 2018 while walking home after drinking near Terrace, B.C. Cameron was a sheet metal worker by trade, and he was also a former player for the Terrace River Kings hockey team, and an avid outdoorsman who loved paddling, hunting and fishing.

Garrett said he was known as being kind and compassionate, with a great sense of humour.

The driver of the vehicle has not been caught, despite a rigorous RCMP investigation that turned up significant evidence and identified a group of suspects from the Lower Mainland who may have colluded to cover up the incident.

Garrett and Cameron were together that night, and Garrett has asked himself over and over what he could have done differently.

The night Cameron was killed, the brothers had attended a wake for a young friend who died of an overdose. Friends and family had gathered for a bittersweet night of sharing memories at a home in New Remo, a tiny community about eight kilometres outside Terrace.

Cameron had decided to walk home in the dark to Terrace along Hwy 16. It’s a long walk, but not unfamiliar to the brothers, who grew up in New Remo. Before he left, Garrett tried to convince him to wait for a cab or to sleep at their parents’ home in New Remo.

But Cameron was adamant, so Garrett let him go and returned to the party.

According to the RCMP, an oncoming vehicle struck Cameron shortly after he left as he walked against traffic on the shoulder of the highway. The Kerr family maintains that driver and companions took hours to cover up the incident before continuing northwest.

Some time after Cameron left, Garrett and a group of friends piled into a cab and headed to Terrace. There was an energetic mood in the cab, and no one was paying attention to the ditch on the opposite side of the road.

“I still don’t know to this day whether my brother was alive when I rode by in the cab,” Garrett says. “The longer these guys hold out and don’t cooperate, the longer I have to live with that.”

Cameron’s body was found around noon the next day.

On Nov. 21, police announced they had identified a suspect truck on Haida Gwaii with damage consistent with the collision, and were confident they had identified a suspect driver from the Lower Mainland. They seized the suspect truck, another truck and two boat trailers on Haida Gwaii, in addition to an abandoned boat trailer discovered near where Cameron was killed. Police questioned seven people of interest.

But the RCMP didn’t have enough evidence to recommend charges.

Garrett and his family held a press conference on Dec. 19, appealing for people to come forward with information. They were joined by Sgt. Shawn McLaughlin, the lead Mountie on the case.

“We will not relent until we deliver the driver responsible,” Sgt. McLaughlin said.

Since then, the Kerr family has remained focused on urging the suspects and their families and friends to step up. The Kerr family held another press conference (their third) in November 2019.

They paid for an ad to be published in Lower Mainland newspapers in April 2020, summarizing their understanding of the incident and pleading for associates of the suspects to come forward.

“To the parents, wives, girlfriends and friends of a group of men from the Lower Mainland: In November 2018, these men set off for a fishing and hunting trip to Haida Gwaii,” the letter begins.

“After passing through Terrace, they were involved in a tragic collision … after the collision, they spent hours hiding their damaged boat trailer in the woods … they transferred the boat to the new trailer and proceeded to Haida Gwaii as if nothing had happened. The persons responsible for his death knowingly left Cameron to die alone.

“Their trucks, boats and trailers were all impounded by the police, so when they returned to the Lower Mainland, it was without those possessions … If you recognize these men by this story, the family of Cameron Kerr pleads with you to urge [the suspects] to do the right thing and go to the authorities so that this nightmare can end for Cameron’s family, as well as these individuals.”

Garrett says the family is grateful for the work the RCMP have done, despite the absence of charges.

Sgt. McLaughlin, speaking to The Terrace Standard on Dec. 2, 2020, says he can’t share many details of the current status of the investigation, but police are not sitting idly waiting for someone to come forward.

“It’s been two years and [the family] want that assurance, and they deserve that assurance to know that this hasn’t fallen off our plate. We are still continuing to investigate and use various means to do so.”

In November of this year, near the anniversary of Cameron’s death, a small group of family and friends went to the spot where his body was found to visit a memorial. It’s made of antlers, to represent his love of hunting, his fishing rod, and kayaking paddles.

Garrett is thankful to the Terrace area community for its support.

“Everybody up here thinks about Cameron all the time and they’ve been so helpful in the investigation,” he says. “But really, the people that can make a difference at this point are living their lives down south.”

– With files from Natalia Balcerzak

Police are asking anyone with information and who has not already spoken with police to call Sgt. Shawn McLaughlin with West Pacific Region Traffic Services at 250-638-7438 or, if you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

RCMP

 

RCMP released this photo of a vehicle of interest in their investigation into the hit and run death of 30-year-old Cameron Kerr, which occurred near Terrace, B.C. in the early hours of Nov. 18, 2018. The vehicle may belong to a person from the Lower Mainland. (RCMP photo)

RCMP released this photo of a vehicle of interest in their investigation into the hit and run death of 30-year-old Cameron Kerr, which occurred near Terrace, B.C. in the early hours of Nov. 18, 2018. The vehicle may belong to a person from the Lower Mainland. (RCMP photo)

Just Posted

Environment Canada is forecasting snow for the east Vancouver Island region the weekend of Jan. 23. (Black Press file)
Up to 15 cm of snow forecast for parts of Vancouver Island this weekend

Snow to begin Saturday night, according to Environment Canada

Sorting food to deliver to community members isolating due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Back row from left: Philomena Wilson, Sosefina Aleck, Ethan Wilson and Lucetta Wilson. In front is Kennedy Aleck. (Submitted)
Pandemic, racism inspires food drive that is warming hearts and filling bellies

Cowichan woman’s food drive helps feed members in isolation and missing traditional gatherings

SD62 bus driver Kerry Zado said it’s common to see drivers lose their patience and pass by his bus while he’s picking up students during the morning commute. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Concerned Island school bus driver says people still pass while red lights flashing

All buses in Sooke School District outfitted with stop sign cameras

Handwashing is one of the important COVID-19 precautions. (File photo)
Editorial: Time to knuckle down on COVID precautions

It would be foolish to think that we have not had any COVID cases in Cowichan until now

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the legislature, Jan. 11, 2021. (B.C. government)
Vancouver Island smashes COVID-19 high: 47 new cases in a day

Blowing past previous records, Vancouver Island is not matching B.C.s downward trend

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau, Biden to talk today as death of Keystone XL reverberates in Canada

President Joe Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama

Prince Edward Island’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. A lozenge plant in Prince Edward Island has laid off 30 workers, citing an “almost non-existent” cold and cough season amid COVID-19 restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Almost non-existent’ cold and cough season: P.E.I. lozenge plant lays off 30 workers

The apparent drop in winter colds across the country seems to have weakened demand for medicine and natural remedies

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Disgraced Kelowna social worker faces another class-action lawsuit

Zackary Alphonse claims he was not informed of resources available to him upon leaving government care

Port Alberni Fire Department deputy Chief Wes Patterson, right, talks to an RCMP member at an incident involving the former Acklands-Grainger building at Third Avenue and Dunbar Street, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
‘Heavy smoke’ turns out to be moisture-laden air venting from cannabis operation

Port Alberni fire crews discover cannabis operation after being called to industrial building

(Pixabay)
Outbreak declared over at Victoria’s Hart House long-term care

One staff member tested positive on Jan. 9

A video captured by Twitter user Teddy Jenner of a fire in Beacon Hill Park the night of Jan. 21, 2021. (Twitter/@OfftheCrosseBar)
Victoria police say no injuries after tent fire in Beacon Hill Park

Emergency crews responded to fire Thursday evening

An architectural rendering provides a look at PC Urban’s proposal for three buildings on the former Galaxy Motors property at 1764 Island Hwy. in Colwood. (Rendering courtesy of PC Urban)
Commercial/industrial development planned for former Galaxy Motors site

Colwood proposal goes to public hearing Jan. 25

Mark Braunagel fills the back seat of his truck with backpacks and bags full of supplies the Grade 9 leadership class at ADSS collected for some of Port Alberni’s vulnerable people. (Jan. 15, 2021) (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Alberni high school students fill backpacks to help city’s homeless

Junior leadership students embraced service project, said teacher Mike Roberts

Most Read