Councillor Claire Newman Unexpectedly Passes Away

The City of Merritt is saddened to announce the death of Councillor Claire Newman on Wednesday, July 5, 2023.  Claire was travelling late in the evening of July 4 to see family and was struck and killed by a vehicle outside of Valemount, BC.

The Valemount RCMP report states “Shortly after midnight Valemount RCMP responded to an automated cell phone crash notification crash activation on Highway 16 near Lucerne Lake. When police arrived, they found a Nissan Frontier running, unlocked and a dog inside. There were no other vehicles in the area when police arrived. A closer examination of the scene showed a woman, in the ditch down an embankment near the vehicle. Sadly, she was deceased.”

“To lose a light like Claire Newman in such a tragic way has left a giant hole in my heart and the heart of everyone who came into contact with her,” says Mayor Michael Goetz. “Claire was the cheerleader of this Council and a driving force that you rarely come across. Getting to know Claire over the past six months has been a great pleasure and I am a better person for having known her. To her family and friends, I offer my deepest sympathies. Claire you will be missed.”

“I have loved working with Claire,” says Merritt CAO Sean Smith. “She was vibrant, curious, and had a passion for people that was contagious. Saying goodbye to friends is hard. I will miss her. And on behalf of all City staff, our sincere condolences go out to her family.”

The City is lowering its flags to half-mast in mourning of Claire’s passing. Please respect the privacy of her family during this time.

The City will be cancelling its regular council meeting for July 11, 2023. The City will dedicate this time to a quiet gathering, open to the public, to honour her passing.

City Hall will be accepting flowers for anyone wishing to honour her memory.

The incident is still under investigation by the RCMP. Their report states, “Evidence located at the scene suggests the woman may have been outside of her car and was struck by a vehicle. Police located head light assembly that has been identified as belonging to a 2016 to 2018 Jeep Cherokee and grey in colour. We encourage the driver to contact the police.

“Police would like to speak with anyone who may have been in the area between 11:00 pm on the July 4, 2023 and shortly after midnight on July 5, 2023 that may have seen the woman and or her vehicle alongside the highway. As well as anyone who may have dash cam video.

“If you have any information about this, contact the Valemount RCMP at (250) 566-4466.”

6PM/6:15PM | Council Chambers
City Hall: 2185 Voght Street
Flowers, Cards, Mementos are
being collected for her family.
Come in and sign the
memory book,
write a
story or paste in
a photo.