Family mourns 19-year-old driver killed in crash near Olds
Ryan White, CTV Calgary
Published Wednesday, January 8, 2014 12:15PM MST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 8, 2014 7:12PM MST
Damian Pannenbecker of Red Deer, Alberta, has been identified as the driver of a minivan involved in a fatal Monday evening crash with an SUV which claimed three lives.
Brie Guenther, Damian’s sister, confirms her 19-year-old brother was killed in the Highway 27 crash.
Damian, who worked in construction, was part of a family with seven children and was a mentor to his four younger, adopted siblings.
“He was just a really amazing person,” remembers Guenther. “He had a great sense of humour and he was very compassionate and kind. He was always there to help people out when they needed it.”
“He made people feel special when they were around him.”
Damian was involved in the sports of hockey and baseball from a young age and was a member of the Ponoka Stampeders in the Junior B league.
Brie says Damian was returning home from work at time of the crash. Her brother’s death is a reminder of how fragile life can be.
“Hug the people you have that are with you,” said Brie, “they can be gone so fast.”
According to RCMP, alcohol and weather were not factors in the crash, but slick road conditions may have contributed to the collision.
The driver of the other vehicle, Donna Mills of Olds, and an unidentified passenger in Pannenbecker's minivan, also lost their lives in the crash.
Four other passengers in the minivan were transported to hospitals in Calgary or Olds.
Donna Mills is being remembered as a loving and devoted mother and grandmother who put the needs of others ahead of herself.