FREDERICTON, New Brunswick – A brutal winter storm that slammed into Atlantic Canada has left a trail of tragedy in New Brunswick, including the death of a pregnant woman who gave birth before dying of her injuries.

Monica Gilbert, 24, of the Fredericton area was one of five people who died as a result of accidents during the fierce winter storm which hit the province Sunday and Monday before moving to Newfoundland and Labrador on Tuesday.

The storm pounded Maine earlier in the weekend, but no fatalities were reported there.

Gilbert was driving to work at the Leo Hayes high school in Fredericton on Monday morning when her car slid sideways on a slushy road and struck an oncoming vehicle near Douglas, a city suburb.

Her vehicle was then hit by another car, spinning it into a ditch.

Gilbert, a teacher at the high school, was taken to the Fredericton hospital for emergency surgery to deliver the 26-week-old baby.

The newborn girl, 14 weeks premature, was in stable condition.

Gilbert was transferred to the Saint John Regional Hospital, but died of her injuries Monday night.

Reg Bonnell, the school’s principal, said students and staff were struggling with their grief, made worse by the fact that the school also discovered on Tuesday that the fathers of two of its students were killed in another storm-related accident.

A 50-year-old man and a 44-year-old man, both from the Fredericton area, were killed after a single-vehicle collision on a back road on the outskirts of the city.

The crash was discovered Monday by a passerby, but the names of the victims have not yet been released.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sgt. Wayne Gallant said it appears the vehicle carrying the two men slid off the road and rolled several times before coming to rest on its wheels.

Meanwhile, in northeastern New Brunswick, a bizarre collision involving a tractor-trailer, a farm tractor and a pickup resulted in the death of a man who was shoveling his driveway.

The tractor-trailer swerved to avoid hitting the tractor, which had pulled out from a driveway. The truck lost control and plowed into a ditch, striking the parked pickup, which then hit Omer Dostie of Saint-Sauveur, New Brunswick.

Dostie, 56, was killed instantly, said RCMP Cpl. Pat Simpson.

Fredericton was the scene of another fatality Sunday night, at the height of the storm, when 72-year-old Vohra Bakhshi died in a three-vehicle pileup on a city street. Police blamed slippery roads and poor visibility for the crash.

The storm dumped up to two feet of snow on parts of the Maritimes before stalling Tuesday over Newfoundland.

AP-ES-12-09-03 1403EST



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