Aug. 26 crash that killed a young Strathroy couple has prompted calls for greater road safety in Bruce County

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Traves Atchison used to tease his girlfriend, Jana Watson, about all the children he wanted to have.

“They always talked about marriage someday (and having) two kids,” Jana’s younger sister, Tori Watson, said. “Then Traves would get on Jana’s nerves by saying, ‘No babe, we’re going to have 10 kids, a big family.’ And Jana would say, ‘No way am I having 10 kids!’”

As the young couple headed north Aug. 26 on Highway 6 toward Tobermory, an oncoming car collided with their SUV, engulfing the vehicle in flames. Watson, 23, and Atchison, 22, were killed in the crash, Bruce County OPP said Sept. 1.

Police continue to investigate the crash that also killed the driver of the car, a 30-year-old Mississauga man, and injured four of his passengers.

The crash prompted Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker to say he would talk with province and police about how to improve safety on the highway between Wiarton and Tobermory used in the summer by tourists and cottagers.

“I just don’t know what I’ll do without them here,” Tori said. “I’m only happy that they didn’t suffer and they died together.”

The pair was beloved by friends in Strathroy, Tori said.

“Jana and Traves loved to live life to the fullest,” she said. “I had never seen my sister so happy. She used to be shy, her friends and Traves opened up her shell and let her see the world and what it has to offer.”

Jana caught the travel bug after a European adventure with a friend, travelling to Cuba and later to the Dominican Republic with Traves and another couple, Tori said.

Despite a shy nature, Jana was a friend to many.

“She was that sister that was also a friend, and a friend that was also a sister to those who hung out with her,” Tori said.

She could remember dressing up in matching outfits with Jana, including a coveted set of butterfly dresses — the sisters’ favourite creature.

“Jana and I were so close. She knew all my secrets and I knew all of hers,” Tori said.

Atchison’s parents sent a statement to The Free Press, thanking the community for the outpouring of support, recognizing emergency crews in Bruce County for their work, and asking for privacy.

An obituary described Atchison as a “ravestar,” and encouraged guests to wear concert T-shirts to his funeral.

A celebration of life will be held for Atchison at 2 p.m. Sept. 10 at Caradoc Sands Golf Course. The family is asking donations in his memory be made to the burn unit at London Health Sciences Centre or to Northern Bruce Peninsula Fire and Emergency Services.

“Traves loved music and life. He worked hard and played harder, always smiling, bringing life to the party, a friend to everyone,” the obituary read.

Watson’s memorial service is at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Denning funeral home in Strathroy.

Traves and Jana loved to dance and have fun, Tori said, frequenting a Strathroy bar and enjoying summer music festivals.

“The more time those two spent together, the more they fell in love.”

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