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Couples killed in crash fondly remembered

Four people were killed in a two-vehicle, head-on collision on Highway 5 near Neepawa early Monday. Gladys and Wayne Gork (above) of Birnie were in a northbound SUV that collided with a southbound van carrying Delaney Houle-Pelletier and her common-law partner Denis Baptiste Jr. (right) of Ebb and Flow First Nation. Both couples were pronounced dead at the scene.

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Four people were killed in a two-vehicle, head-on collision on Highway 5 near Neepawa early Monday. Gladys and Wayne Gork (above) of Birnie were in a northbound SUV that collided with a southbound van carrying Delaney Houle-Pelletier and her common-law partner Denis Baptiste Jr. (right) of Ebb and Flow First Nation. Both couples were pronounced dead at the scene. (SUBMITTED)

Delaney Houle-Pelletier and her common-law partner Denis Baptiste Jr. of Ebb and Flow First Nation.

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Delaney Houle-Pelletier and her common-law partner Denis Baptiste Jr. of Ebb and Flow First Nation. (SUBMITTED)

Two families are trying to come to terms with the loss of loved ones after a single crash took the lives of two couples.

Delaney Houle-Pelletier and her common-law partner Denis Baptiste Jr. of Ebb and Flow First Nation were in one vehicle.

"They were just so happy together, they were just like they were meant to be together," said Houle-Pelletier’s aunt, Jenilee Flett. "They were really happy and always smiling."

Meanwhile, the family of Gladys and Wayne Gork of Birnie are struggling to understand their loss.

"We can’t even really visualize it yet," said Wayne’s sister-in-law, Marj Gork.

RCMP were called to a two-vehicle, head-on collision near Neepawa on Highway 5, about four kilometres north of Highway 16, shortly after midnight on Monday.

The vehicles both had front-end damage, and both couples were declared dead at the scene.

According to police, 68-year-old Gladys was the driver of the northbound SUV, and her 70-year-old husband Wayne was passenger.

Police say that Baptiste, 19, was the driver of the southbound van that also carried Houle-Pelletier, 20.

There’s no word yet of a cause for the crash, although police have previously stated that there were no reports of bad weather or road conditions at the time.

However, RCMP added on Wednesday that one officer noted the road was wet at the time due to drizzle.

Investigators now await the results of toxicology tests and the final findings of traffic analysts. That includes a finding of which vehicle wandered into the oncoming lane.

The Gorks had reportedly attended the Brookdale fall supper, then spent Sunday evening playing cards with a friend in Franklin.

Marj Gork said the husband and wife were travelling home to their farm at the time of the collision.

The Gorks, Marj said, were born and raised in the Birnie area, where they were longtime farmers.

Their funeral will be held on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Yellowhead Hall in Neepawa.

Meanwhile, Houle-Pelletier and Baptiste had just started their life together.

Flett said her niece and Baptiste had been together since January.

They both grew up at Ebb and Flow, but recently moved to Brandon so Houle-Pelletier could attend Assiniboine Community College, where she was taking the social service worker program.

Flett said outgoing Houle-Pelletier liked children and hoped to work with Child and Family Services someday.

Baptiste, who played defence with the Peguis Juniors hockey team, was a big supporter of his partner attending school, she said.

Baptiste had two sons prior to his relationship with Houle-Pelletier — one-year-old Draymond, who currently lives in Thunder Bay, Ont., and three-year-old Denzel, who lives at Ebb and Flow.

Baptiste’s aunt, Adina Malcolm, said that her nephew and Houle-Pelletier visited Ebb and Flow on the weekend, where they took Denzel trick-or-treating for Halloween. They were on their way back to Brandon at the time of the crash.

Malcolm said Baptiste had got a job in construction in Winnipeg and planned to travel between that city and Brandon as he continued his relationship with Houle-Pelletier. He was due to start his new job on Monday.

Baptiste loved Houle-Pelletier, Malcolm said, and they were good together. Houle-Pelletier accepted Denzel as her own, she said.

Malcolm said she’ll remember Baptiste’s smile and how it lifted others’ spirits.

"He had always a big, huge smile on his face all of the time," she said.

The couple will have a joint funeral on Monday at 1 p.m. at the Ebb and Flow Complex. Wakes will be held at the complex at 7 p.m. on Sunday.

» ihitchen@brandonsun.com

» Twitter: @IanHitchen

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition November 5, 2015

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Two families are trying to come to terms with the loss of loved ones after a single crash took the lives of two couples.

Delaney Houle-Pelletier and her common-law partner Denis Baptiste Jr. of Ebb and Flow First Nation were in one vehicle.

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Two families are trying to come to terms with the loss of loved ones after a single crash took the lives of two couples.

Delaney Houle-Pelletier and her common-law partner Denis Baptiste Jr. of Ebb and Flow First Nation were in one vehicle.

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