Fundraiser launched for TRU athlete involved in fatal crash

Spinal injury in fatal crash

A second Thompson Rivers University athlete involved in a fatal crash in Kamloops last week has been identified through a GoFundMe fundraising campaign.

The fundraiser for Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s volleyball player Riley Brinnen was started Saturday, and more than $17,000 has already been raised to help with his recovery. Brinnen grew up in the Kelowna area, graduating from Kelowna Secondary School.

The online fundraiser states Brinnen was transported to Vancouver General Hospital by air ambulance following the crash with a severe spinal injury, the extent of which is still unknown.

“He is currently in the Spinal ICU after undergoing surgery on Thursday morning,” the fundraiser states.

“He is expected to be at VGH & GF Strong Rehabilitation centre for many months. He is surrounded by his parents Chris (dad) & Karri Brinnen & Ann (mom) & Mark Turner, as well as his sisters & extended family.”

Brinnen is one of three TRU athletes who were involved in the crash. Owyn McInnis was killed in the crash, while a third teammate was also injured.

The online fundraiser describes Brinnen as “a strong, athletic absolute sweetheart of a man.” He played minor hockey in West Kelowna, before taking to volleyball in Grade 10 at Kelowna Secondary School. He graduated from KSS in 2020 and earned a spot on TRU’s men’s volleyball team. He is currently in his fourth year of a psychology degree at the university.

“We are overwhelmingly grateful for the support the family has received,” the fundraiser states. “This GoFundMe will help cover some of the costs as Riley, his family, and the medical team work towards building his new normal going forward.”

Emergency crews were called to the intersection of McGill Road and University Drive around 3 p.m. Wednesday for a report of a multi-vehicle crash. Six vehicles were involved, injuring 11 people.

An investigation into the crash is underway, with investigators believing a Dodge Ram pickup truck hit several trees along McGill Road before striking a Volkswagen Jetta stopped at a red light at University Drive, causing secondary collisions with four other vehicles. Police have not yet said if they believe criminality was involved.

In the days following the incident, a memorial of flowers, photos, handwritten notes and WolfPack gear has grown along the sidewalk at the intersection where the collision took place.

TRU said on Saturday the Owyn McInnis Memorial Men’s Volleyball Athletic Award had been launched in memory of McInnis.

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