Families, friends mourn as police probe Sask. crash that killed 6 teens
Published Sunday, July 28, 2013 9:34AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 30, 2013 12:09AM EDT
Families and friends of six teens who died in a fatal crash near Lloydminster, Sask., are trying to come to grips with the devastating loss as police continue to investigate the collision.
The teens -- three males and three females -- died Saturday morning after their car collided with a tanker truck carrying crude oil on a rural road. They have been identified as:
- Jayden Boettcher, 16
- Aimie Hurley, 14
- Mackenzie Moen, 14
- Kris Tavener, 17
- Tarren Attfield, 15
- Naomi Salas-Schafer, 13
Dalbert Attfield, father of Tarren Attfield, came to the site of the accident Sunday to place flowers and erect a wooden cross tied with six ribbons. The cross read: “These young lives were lost much too soon.”
"I've seen it in the ditches, where other people have had family that died," Attfield said, sobbing. "I just wanted to put (something) there."
Attfield -- who also has an 11-year-old daughter -- said he wanted his blond, blue-eyed son to be remembered as a good person.
“Because he was a good kid, he got good grades in school and everybody loved him. We just can’t believe it, it’s so hard to believe that it’s even real,” Attfield told reporters at the scene.
Attfield visited the morgue to see his son’s body and say goodbye, kissing his child one last time.
"I told him how much his sister and I would miss him," Attfield said. "I couldn't leave him. I just wanted to bring him home with me. That was my little man."
Tarren Attfield would have been 16 in October.
When police arrived to scene early Saturday morning, the tanker truck was on its roof and the car was completely submerged in the slough, hidden out of sight.
Authorities said they quickly discovered the truck's driver and one of the teenagers, rushing both to hospital.
But since the car carrying the teens was completely under water, it took some time to retrieve the other five, young victims from the two-door Pontiac Sunfire.
“To determine exactly what the circumstances were in the accident is going to take some time,” RCMP Cpl. Rob King told reporters Saturday. “From what we can tell right now is that all of the victims were in the car.”
Police say the driver of the truck was trapped inside the truck for about an hour before he was freed. Police have not said what kinds of injuries he suffered, but investigators are planning to speak to the driver as soon as possible.
“It will depend on his condition,” King said.
Authorities also said Sunday that investigators don't believe the teens were wearing seatbelts when they were pulled from the vehicle. But King said that doesn't mean they weren't wearing them at the time of the accident.
The crash happened around 4:20 a.m. Saturday, about six kilometres south of Lloydminster, which straddles the Alberta and Saskatchewan border.
One of the teenaged victims was taken to hospital and died a short time later. All of the other victims were pronounced dead at the scene.
Police say there will be support available for all those involved, especially the families.
"To lose six lives all at once, it’s a horrific tragedy to the community," said Lloydminster Mayor Jeff Mulligan. "And we need to lean on each other in order to get through this."
With files from The Canadian Press