Online, roadside memorials honour victims

Kerri Breen
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OPP officers begin investigation of car crash which killed three

A handful of Prince of Wales Collegiate students huddled around a roadside memorial Tuesday afternoon for two Level 3 students and a 35-year-old man who were killed after their speeding car hit a utility pole on Freshwater Road Monday morning.

"Can I use that marker for a second?," a young woman asked her friend just before she wrote "RIP" and the first name of one of the deceased on a tree trunk bearing roses, ribbon, notes and prom pictures.

A makeshift memorial was erected near the site of a car accident that killed three people early Monday morning. Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

A handful of Prince of Wales Collegiate students huddled around a roadside memorial Tuesday afternoon for two Level 3 students and a 35-year-old man who were killed after their speeding car hit a utility pole on Freshwater Road Monday morning.

"Can I use that marker for a second?," a young woman asked her friend just before she wrote "RIP" and the first name of one of the deceased on a tree trunk bearing roses, ribbon, notes and prom pictures.

Stephen Tucker, who had stopped by to pay his respects, was a friend of the three victims. He said he was in contact with them on the night of the crash.

"They came over to try and pick me up at like one (a.m.)," Tucker said. "I was talking to them all day, right, and they dropped by my house to see me just before that happened. They asked me to go for a burn, but I said 'no I can't I got to stay here.'"

He described the victims of the crash as "good people."

"They did not f--king deserve that at all," he said.

The 17-year-old female and 18-year-old male were about to graduate from Prince of Wales Collegiate in St. John's.

"They were quiet and unassuming," said principal Lyn Moore. "They were very pleasant to be around. They were well liked."

Grief counsellors at the school told Moore the best thing to do during such a tragedy is to keep things as normal as possible for the students.

They were given the option to write their final exams in August if necessary, but so far no one has chosen to do so, Moore said.

The deaths are also having an effect on faculty at the school.

"People are devastated," Moore said. "When you lose two of your students it impacts you a great deal."

At the request of the RNC, Ontario Provincial Police officers arrived in St. John's Tuesday to begin an investigation of the accident and the actions of the officer who pursued the speeding Chevrolet Malibu early Monday morning. It had been clocked travelling at 147 km/h on Kenmount Road previous to the collision, according to police radar, but the officer called off the chase in the interest of public safety, RNC media relations officer Const. Suzanne FitzGerald said.

Police haven't revealed who was driving the vehicle, nor are they identifying the individuals who died.

A group dedicated to the victims on popular social networking website Facebook has over 3,400 members - with many members expressing condolences and paying tribute to the victims.

The page, however, is no longer public. Its administrators disabled the wall commenting function and made membership in the group by approval only after the page was littered with comments supporters called insensitive.

Moore said school is going to prepare a "memory box" of notes and pictures from the students for both the young man and woman's families, as suggested by the grief counsellors.

"We will turn (them) over to the families so that when they're able, they'll be able to go through it and have some positive memories of their children," Moore said.

Organizations: Prince of Wales Collegiate

Geographic location: Freshwater Road, St. John's, Ontario Kenmount Road

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