Abbotsford crash victim had suspended licence

James Wilson ran into his friend, Robbie Minler, on Saturday night in Abbotsford just as Minler was getting ready to catch a ride with another buddy into Langley.

Family friend Jim Patton looks over the memorial for Robbie Minler on George Ferguson Way

Family friend Jim Patton looks over the memorial for Robbie Minler on George Ferguson Way



James Wilson ran into his friend, Robbie Minler, on Saturday night in Abbotsford just as Minler was getting ready to catch a ride with another buddy into Langley.

Several hours later, Wilson was stunned to hear that Minler died after fleeing from police who had pulled him over for suspicion of impaired driving. Minler, 21, crashed into a power pole and then into the back of a building on George Ferguson Way, just east of McCallum Road.

He died on scene, the lone occupant in the vehicle. Abbotsford Police Const. Ian MacDonald said Minler was under suspension for driving. He was given a 90-day immediate roadside prohibition on Jan. 29 in Abbotsford after failing a roadside breath test.

Monday morning, Wilson was at the crash site, which had been turned into a memorial with about 25 floral bouquets, burning candles and a large white cross sporting the words “Robbie Minler, #33 Forever Young.”

On the wall was a photo of Minler sporting a Rick Hansen Hurricanes football uniform, number 33. He had been the wide receiver and defensive back for the team during his high school years.

A white poster board and the wall of the building were scribbled with messages in purple felt pen.

“He was an amazing person. He would always stand out. The hardest part about seeing him gone is you’ll never see his smile again,” Wilson said.

He described Minler, whom he met about two years ago, as “hyper, always smiling, energetic” and a “really smart kid who would be on his computer all day.”

“He could have done anything,” Wilson added.

Minler lived with two roommates in an apartment not far from the crash scene, he added.

He had previously been an assistant auctioneer with Madison’s Auctions and Appraisals in Abbotsford, but had begun working in December at Abbsry New and Used Tires.

Wade Larson, president and founder of Abbsry, said he hired Minler based on a recommendation from a friend.

“He was actually a very intelligent young person,” he said.

Minler worked in inventory control and development, and Larson said his energetic, friendly nature and innovative mind made him a “natural salesperson.”

“He had extreme potential … He was going to be going places.”

Larson said in his short time at Abbsry, Minler made several close friends. He was a “genuinely nice person” who often helped others without wanting anything in return, he said.

“It’s a fantastic person’s life cut short,” Larson said of Minler’s death.

MacDonald said Abbotsford Police were alerted by freeway police at about midnight on Saturday that a motorist had been reported driving erratically and had hit a barrier along Highway 1 near the 264 Street exit.

The driver was headed east, and police anticipated he was destined for Abbotsford.

MacDonald said an Abbotsford police officer then headed south along Clearbrook Road, towards the freeway. He noticed a car that was headed in the opposite direction did not have its lights on and was speeding.

The officer turned around and followed the Honda Civic, which matched the description and licence plate provided by the RCMP’s Fraser Valley Traffic Services. The officer had his emergency lights flashing, and the driver pulled into a church parking lot at the corner of Gladwin and Maclure roads.

MacDonald said the officer then called for back-up, and did not approach the vehicle nor talk to the Honda driver while he waited.

As the second patrol car pulled up, the driver fled and headed south on Gladwin Road and then east on George Ferguson Way. MacDonald said the officers on scene were instructed not to pursue the vehicle.

He said another driver, also headed east on George Ferguson, reported that the Honda Civic passed him at a high speed. MacDonald said that driver was the first on the scene after the vehicle crashed, hitting a light post, power pole and building on the south side of the road.

The incident is still under investigation.

Online provincial court records show that Minler pleaded guilty in July 2009 of driving while his licence was suspended and was given a one-year driving prohibition.

He was also given a 12-month conditional sentence in September 2009 for trafficking in a controlled substance, and was charged with breaching that sentence in July 2010.

 

 

Just Posted

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of June 13

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Madalyn Clempson, 18, of Chilliwack sings ‘Hiney Yamin Ba-im.’ She won the Intermediate Vocal Canadian Music award at the Performing Arts BC Virtual Provincial Festival. (YouTube)
Chilliwack youth bring home awards from provincial performing arts festival

Chilliwack’s 18-year-old Madalyn Clempson ‘a bit stunned’ to have won Intermediate Vocal Canadian Music

These three kittens, seen here on Thursday, June 10, 2021, are just some of many up for adoption at the Chilliwack SPCA. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Three kittens at the Chilliwack SPCA

Kittens were in ‘rough shape’ when they came into the Chilliwack SPCA, now ready for adoption

Jacqueline Pearce and Jean-Pierre Antonio received the BC Historical Federation Best Article Award on Saturday for their story about translating haiku written in the Tashme internment camp.
Article chronicling haiku in Japanese internment camp near Hope wins award

Tashme Haiku Club’s work was preserved and recently translated, authors write

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Chilliwack family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read