Two teens were killed in a head-on collision early Sunday in downtown Maple Ridge.
The crash took placed at 2:25 a.m. on Dewdney Trunk Road at Dunbar Street.
Police said a green Dodge van with three young men in it collided with a blue Honda Civic carrying three young girls.
The driver of the mini-van, 16-year-old Dawson Spencer, died at the scene.
He had a learner’s permit. Drivers with a learner’s license are prohibited from driving after midnight.
Crystal Weaver, an 18-year-old female passenger in the Honda Civic, was also killed. She died after being rushed hospital. Two boys and two girls remain in hospital with serious injuries.
Witnesses said the Dodge van crossed the centre line, but police have yet to determine what caused the crash.
Spencer was a Grade 11 student at Samuel Robertson Technical Secondary School, where he was enrolled in the trades program.
The two injured boys also attended SRT, one a Grade 11 student, the other in Grade 12.
Weaver graduated from Garibaldi secondary last summer, where she was heavily involved in the school’s theatre program, as were the other two girls injured in the car crash.
Despite having graduated from the school, the three girls were helping the theatre program put on its production of Leaglly Blonde, which runs Feb. 21 to 25.
“There’s a lot of trauma at Garibaldi today,” said schools superintendent Jan Unwin. “They were really involved in that community.”
The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District is offering grief counselling to students at SRT and Garibaldi, and to all students and staff in the district.
School staff greeted students as they arrived at school Monday morning at SRT and Garibaldi. Teachers there read from a script during first period to let students know about the accident and that there was help available should they need it.
“We have rooms set aside for any kids who needs support,” said Unwin. “The impact on our schools is unbelievable, it stretches from one side of the district to the other. [Dawson and Weaver] touched a lot of lives.”
Maple Ridge resident Justin Birch said the crash sounded like a “big explosion” and tried to help its victims.
“The sound was just incredible; I’ll never forget that sound of the metal,” he told CTV News.
“I ran up to the van because I could hear someone screaming, ‘Help, help, help!'” he said.
“To lose two young local people is devastating.” said Sgt. Dale Somerville, with Ridge Meadows RCMP Traffic Services. “Our sincere condolences go out to the two families. Our investigation into the crash is in its initial phase. Due to the ages of the people involved in this, Ridge Meadows RCMP’s Youth Resource Officers will be working with School District 42 to ensure appropriate counseling is in place. We ask anyone who may have witnessed this crash, and has not yet spoken to police, to come forward.”
Police have not released the names of the teens, but memorials set up by their friends on Facebook identify them as Dawson Spencer and Crystal Weaver.
Flowers and messages to the teens have also been left at the crash site.
• Anyone who witnessed the crash is asked to call RCMP at 604-463-6251.