Man charged with drunk and dangerous driving in UBC crash that killed 2 students

·3 min read
Tim Carl Robert Goerner faces charges of impaired and dangerous driving in the September 2021 crash that killed Emily Selwood and Evan Smith at UBC. (Doug Kerr/CBC News - image credit)
Tim Carl Robert Goerner faces charges of impaired and dangerous driving in the September 2021 crash that killed Emily Selwood and Evan Smith at UBC. (Doug Kerr/CBC News - image credit)

Nearly a year after two students at the University of B.C. were killed by a driver who veered onto the sidewalk where they were walking, a Vancouver man has been charged with drunk and dangerous driving.

RCMP announced Thursday that Tim Carl Robert Goerner, 22, has been charged with two counts each of impaired driving causing death, dangerous driving causing death and impaired driving in connection with the crash that killed Emily Selwood and Evan Smith, both 18, in the early morning hours of Sept. 26, 2021.

Staff Sgt. Chuck Lan said in a news release that investigators have worked "tirelessly" on the case for the past year.

"This was a difficult and tragic incident," Lan said. "Our thoughts go out to the families of these two students."

Goerner's next court date is scheduled for Friday in Richmond, B.C.

'Emily was so much more than just a tragic statistic'

The parents of the victims released statements on Thursday, addressing the charges and remembering the short lives of the two students.

"Our family's hope is that the individual responsible will be brought to justice on fact and evidence with a successful conviction; however, that will not bring Emily and Evan back," Laurie and Duncan Selwood said.

They said their daughter Emily grew up on Vancouver Island, where she developed a passion for the outdoors and became an accomplished rower with her high school team.

B.C. RCMP
B.C. RCMP

"Emily was so much more than just a tragic statistic, and we want her to be remembered for what she accomplished in her short life," the Selwoods said.

"Emily had a great capacity for compassion and exemplified kindness. Her dedication to service and commitment to helping others led her to work on numerous initiatives, through her school, to help those in need and protect the environment. In everything she did, Emily worked hard to embody her favourite quote by Ian Maclaren: 'Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.'"

They said she came to UBC to study social sciences, and a fund has been set up in her memory to support undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts.

'This violent crime affects everyone'

Evan Smith loved rock climbing, camping, canoeing and music, and was a volunteer with Scouts Canada, according to parents Debbie O'Day-Smith and Adam Smith.

They said he was an award-winning student at his high school in Mississauga, Ont., and had come to Vancouver to study engineering.

"Because of someone's deliberate decision to drive after drinking, our son's lifelong plans, dreams and goals will never be realized. This heinous act of selfishness and stupidity made our worst nightmare come true," the parents wrote in their statement.

B.C. RCMP
B.C. RCMP

They said they hope for a conviction, but no matter the outcome, their hearts are forever broken.

"[Evan] was a loyal friend and a wonderful son and brother. His positive attitude, playful competitiveness and humble disposition left a mark on everyone he came across. We couldn't be more proud of the young man he became," O'Day-Smith and Smith said.

"For those that didn't know him, know that an intelligent, conscientious, sincere and caring human being was in the prime of his youth when he was killed. This violent crime affects everyone. Driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol has to stop."

UBC president Santa Ono also expressed his sorrow Thursday over two young lives that "came to an end all too quickly and under terrible circumstances."

He said grief and trauma counselling are available to members of the university community still grappling with the tragedy.

"We have collectively and individually mourned Emily Selwood and Evan Smith in the weeks and months since, and on behalf of the university I wish to once again extend our deepest condolences to their grieving families. Emily and Evan are gone from them too soon and I cannot fathom the depth of their sadness," Ono said in a written statement.