Chilliwack Secondary School students are mourning the loss of one of their own.
On May 22, 17-year-old Caleb Branconnier died as a passenger in a single vehicle crash on Camp River Road, which runs along the Camp Slough.
There were four people in the vehicle, the driver and three passengers. The car that went off the road into trees and was partially submerged in the water of Camp Slough. Branconnier was trapped and unresponsive when firefighters arrived.
The other three suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
Two days after the tragedy, the first day back at school after the long weekend, Chilliwack Secondary School (CSS) principal Brian Fehlauer sent out a letter to all CSS parents addressing the impact the death of Branconnier would have on students.
“In response, the school has implemented a plan which allows students an opportunity to talk about their thoughts and feelings with trained professional staff,” Fehlauer wrote. “We expect that some will seek out this help, while others may not. Those who do will be given an opportunity to express their feelings and grief.”
He pointed out that the offer was not intended to take the place of outside professional counselling or religious care.
A memorial including a cross made from skateboard decks was put up on a tree at the site where Branconnier died along with a skateboard shoe and a plaid shirt. On Tuesday, there were also several bouquets of flowers below the cross on the ground along with a package of guitar strings.
The Progress has learned that the 21-year-old driver is now out of hospital. There have been as-of-yet unconfirmed accusations that he was intoxicated and driving dangerously.
“I can tell you that speed and alcohol are being examined,” Chilliwack RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Krista Vrolyk told The Progress.
“Our deepest and most heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of the young man who died on Sunday night,” she said. “This is a tragic collision that will have a profound impact on our community.”
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