Thompson Rivers University student Owyn McInnis was remembered by family as adventurous, curious and athletic at a memorial service on Saturday.
The 22-year-old athlete and psychology undergraduate was killed after a multi-vehicle crash late last month near the Kamloops, B.C., campus.
Two of McInnis' teammates on the university's WolfPack men's volleyball team were seriously injured in the collision, which remains under RCMP investigation.
"I had the privilege of working with Owyn for three years," said the team's head coach, Pat Hennelly, during the memorial service in Guelph, Ont.
"Obviously everyone back home — professors, the city of Kamloops, all the guys on the team … everyone sends their wishes and everyone was crushed by this."
RCMP investigation a priority
In a statement, Kamloops RCMP said the Nov. 29 crash involved the victim's small car being hit by an out-of-control truck and pushed into a busy intersection in Kamloops, causing a multi-car pileup.
The crash happened at the intersection of McGill Road and University Drive near the TRU campus. Seven other people were injured, three of whom needed hospital care, according to authorities.
"Our hearts are broken for the victims and their families involved in this terrible tragedy," said Kamloops RCMP Supt. Jeff Pelley, a day after the crash. "The loss is sure to have far-reaching impacts as we struggle to understand what happened and advance the active investigation as a priority."
A memorial scholarship in McInnis' memory has been set up and is now accepting donations, according to the TRU athletics department.
On Saturday, Hennelly told attendees at the memorial that the fund had already surpassed $60,000 in donations.
McInnis graduated from John F. Ross Collegiate Vocational Institute in Guelph, and had also played lacrosse and hockey at high levels, launching his university volleyball career at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ont.
He joined the TRU WolfPack in 2021, according to the team's rosters.
Erin Walters says her son Owyn McInnis was the young man killed in a mutli-vehicle collision in Kamloops on Nov. 29. McInnis, 22, was an outside hitter for the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men's volleyball team. (Owyn McInnis/Instagram)
'Such a positive and ambitious person'
McInnis' mother described her son as always caring for others and living life to its fullest.
Erin Walter said her son's death was a case of him and his teammates simply being "in the wrong place at the wrong time," and according to her they were driving to get some food before a team practice.
"Owyn loved life, he really did," she told those attending his memorial, which was live-streamed online by a funeral home. "He enjoyed so much about life, from being an adventurous, curious toddler to a quick-witted athlete, a fun-loving young man who always showed up for everybody."
McInnis's fiancee, who moved with him to Kamloops, also spoke on Saturday. She recalled how the pair had moved to B.C., despite some nervousness about moving away. She said he helped her find the courage to relocate.
The couple met in 2020, Amber Wingenbach said.
"I don't know if I've ever met such a positive and ambitious person," she said. "It inspired me like anything else day after day.
"We had big plans after this year."