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Impaired driving charges laid a year after Harrison Festival crash

Police talk to witnesses and paramedics deal with the injured as an Air Ambulance takes off after a violent crash at Harrison Hot Springs during the arts festival last July. - Paul J. Henderson
Police talk to witnesses and paramedics deal with the injured as an Air Ambulance takes off after a violent crash at Harrison Hot Springs during the arts festival last July.
— image credit: Paul J. Henderson

Charges have finally been laid against the driver of an SUV that ploughed into crowds at last summer’s Harrison Festival of the Arts in Harrison Hot Springs.

Many of the hundreds in attendance won’t soon forget the moment when a white Toyota FJ Cruiser came crashing onto the sidewalk just metres from the beach stage.

Three members of one Abbotsford family that were struck by a white Toyota FJ Cruiser were strewn over the intersection of Highway 9 and Esplanade Avenue.

This reporter was present to hear screams from the 37-year-old mother who was hit and thrown into the air at about 1:15 p.m. on July 7.

Also hit was the 51-year-old father and 13-year-old son. The 16-year-old son managed to jump out of the way and could be seen holding his mother’s hand as passersby and later emergency personnel attended to the woman.

Six charges have now been laid against Clinton Lee Michaloski.

The 28-year-old faces three charges each of impaired driving causing bodily harm and dangerous driving causing bodily harm.

Witnesses at the scene said Michaloski was either “drunk out of his mind” or impaired by drugs when he got out of the vehicle.

People at the scene put him back into the vehicle to wait for RCMP to arrive.

“With several hundred people reported to be in the area, we are thankful that the family survived and no one else was injured or killed,” RCMP spokesperson Constable Cynthia Kershaw said a year ago.

Michaloski’s next appearance in Chilliwack court is scheduled for June 24.

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