Deadly ac­ci­dents leave Trin­ity South towns in mourn­ing

Two young males from Win­ter­ton and Cavendish die in sep­a­rate in­ci­dents

The Compass - - OPINION - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Two com­mu­ni­ties in the Trin­ity South re­gion con­tinue to grieve fol­low­ing the death of two young males in sep­a­rate mo­tor ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents in re­cent days.

And po­lice are also is­su­ing warn­ings about the use of all-ter­rain ve­hi­cles on pub­lic road­ways fol­low­ing a se­ri­ous ATV-mo­tor ve­hi­cle col­li­sion in Car­bon­ear.

The most re­cent tragedy came dur­ing the early hours of Satur­day, Nov. 16 when a 23-yearold male res­i­dent of Win­ter­ton, driv­ing along Route 80 on the south shore of Trin­ity Bay, cut a swath through the trees just out­side of New Per­li­can be­fore plum­met­ing some 100 feet into the ocean.

The car landed 30 feet from the cliff face, say those fa­mil­iar with the scene.

Win­ter­ton town coun­cil­lor Hilda Green said the com­mu­nity is “dev­as­tated” by the pass­ing of one of their own.

“Every­body feels their pain,” she said last week. “We’re a sad com­mu­nity right now.”

In a town of just un­der 500 res­i­dents, the com­mu­nity is close-knit. A fu­neral ser­vice was planned for Wed­nes­day, Nov. 20.

“Every­body knows every­body,” said Green. “The com­mu­nity is still in shock. We’re try­ing to stick to­gether for the fam­ily. It’s go­ing to take time.”

The Trin­ity Con­cep­tion RCMP re­ceived the call just af­ter 3 a.m. on Nov. 16. Mem­bers of the New Per­li­can, Win­ter­ton and Heart’s De­lightIs­ling­ton vol­un­teer fire de­part­ments also re­sponded.

Ray Walker is the pub­lic re­la­tions of­fi­cer with the Win­ter­ton Vol­un­teer Fire Depar­ment. He said the ac­ci­dent was a dif­fi­cult one for ev­ery­one in­volved.

“It’s al­ways tough when it’s in your area and you know ev­ery­one,” said Walker.

He praised the work of his depart­ment in deal­ing with the tragedy, call­ing mem­bers “a re­ally tight bunch of fire­fight­ers.”

When the trucks re­turned to the fire hall, said Walker, “Every­body said, ‘Now, what can we do for the fam­ily?’”

The road was closed for two hours while crews at­tended to the ac­ci­dent, which re­mains un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

It was three years ago that a woman went over the cliff in the same area. She man­aged to get out of her ve­hi­cle and make it to the road­way to call for help, but was not se­ri­ously in­jured.

It was the sec­ond loss of life on the re­gion’s high­ways in a week.

On Nov. 9, a 26-year-old man from Cavendish died in a sin­gle-ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dent on the Heart’s Con­tent bar­rens, a des­o­late stretch of high­way be­tween Vic­to­ria and Heart’s Con­tent. The de­ceased was the lone occupant.

Road con­di­tions were de­scribed as good at the time, and po­lice say ex­ces­sive speed does not ap­pear to have been a fac­tor. Again, an in­ves­ti­ga­tion is on­go­ing.

While both ac­ci­dents in­volved young peo­ple, po­lice are not ready to say they rep­re­sent a wor­ry­ing trend among young driv­ers, said RCMP Cpl. Ken Coish.

ATV ac­ci­dent

Ac­ci­dents in the re­gion were not lim­ited to cars. A 23-year-old Car­bon­ear man was also in­jured on Nov. 17 af­ter his all-ter­rain ve­hi­cle col­lided with a ve­hi­cle in the vicin­ity of Crowdy Street-Ban­ner­man Street.

A fam­ily mem­ber told The Com­pass the man suf­fered a bro­ken leg, and sev­eral skull frac­tures.

The in­ci­dent is a stark re­minder of the dan­gers of us­ing th­ese off-road ve­hi­cles on pub­lic streets, said Const. Coish.

“Es­pe­cially in the Har­bour Grace, Car­bon­ear and Vic­to­ria area, it is quite com­mon and we get a num­ber of com­plaints,” said Coish.

Of­ten, the hands of the po­lice are tied when it comes to ATVs, since of­fi­cers will not en­gage in a pur­suit, fear­ing it may lead to an ac­ci­dent and pos­si­bibly in­juries or death.

“We can ac­ti­vate our lights, but if they de­cide they’re tak­ing off, we shut her down right away,” said Coish.

Mean­while, a 12-year-old boy from Salmon Cove was in­jured af­ter be­ing struck by a ve­hi­cle on Nov. 14.

RCMP were called to the Salmon Cove area just af­ter 8 p.m. The boy was rid­ing his pedal bike along the main road when the in­ci­dent oc­curred.

Po­lice say the boy was wear­ing dark cloth­ing.

The boy was trans­ported to the Janeway Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal in St. John’s with non-life threat­en­ing in­juries. One of those in­juries is be­lieved to be a skull frac­ture.

Sub­mit­ted photo by Greg Shyshko

Mem­bers of the RCMP at­tempt to re­con­struct a fatal ac­ci­dent in New Per­li­can on Nov. 15. A 23-year-old man died af­ter the car he was driv­ing went over a cliff and into the wa­ter.

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