Friends have identified one of the victims of Wednesday’s deadly crash on the New Westminster and Burnaby border.
They say 18-year-old Samir Ali had just graduated from high school and was about to attend the University of British Columbia on a scholarship.
He was driving home from a soccer match with a friend Tuesday when his car was hit by a speeding vehicle that had fled a police traffic stop.
Both Ali and his friend were killed in the crash.
Yabsrat Habtamu Hailu has been identified as the other victim of the crash. According to a GoFundMe set up to help his family, Hailu was a “phenomenal person and will be missed by many people. He was an amazing rugby and soccer player. He was awarded player of the month for his soccer club team in March and recently made the Burnaby District Metro Soccer Men’s team, which is a big accomplishment.”
The 17-year-old was set to enter his final year of high school in September. He was new to Canada from Ethiopia and has left behind his parents and four younger siblings.
Ali, who was also new to Canada and initially arrived in Vancouver as a refugee from Kenya, is remembered by friends as a compassionate young man who strove to lift up those around him.
“What he did in 18 years most people don’t do in a lifetime,” friend Cyrus Greenall told Global News Thursday at a memorial set up for the victims.
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“For the rest of my life, I’ll be aspiring to do what he did. The amount of service he gave to his community, not just to his family but to every single person in this community, that’s why there’s so many people here. And, there was over 100 people here yesterday who loved him so much.”
Two killed, two arrested in crash at New Westminster/Burnaby border
Two people dead after serious crash at New Westminster-Burnaby border
Another friend, Abdi Ahmed, said Ali was a role model.
”He’s the perfect role model anybody can have,” he said. “Even as somebody being older than him, I look up to him, you know. This guy was an amazing character.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise funds for Ali’s family.
A prayer service was also held at 1:30 p.m. on Friday at the Al-Masjid Al-Jamia Mosque on West 8th Avenue in Vancouver.
B.C.’s police watchdog investigating New Westminster-Burnaby crash
Metro Vancouver Transit Police said in a release that on Tuesday night at 11 p.m. officers attempted to conduct a traffic stop at the intersection of 10th Avenue and 6th Street in New Westminster.
However, the vehicle, believed to be a white sedan, took off at a high speed, police said.
A short time later, the vehicle was found on fire after causing a multi-vehicle collision, transit police added.
The driver of the sedan and the passenger were arrested at the scene.
On Friday, Metro Vancouver Transit Police said both suspects have been released from custody, with several conditions, which include a nightly curfew.
They are scheduled to appear in Vancouver provincial court on Nov. 29 but as they have not been charged, their names are not being released at this time.
Haroon Khan, president of the Pakistan Canadian Association, told Global News on Thursday that Ali’s death is a “heartbreaking tragedy.”
He said their hearts go out to both families.
“As a father myself, it hits close to the bone,” he said. “And for our community, supporting young people and families who have come from all over the world to make Canada their home. Samir was from Ethiopia and his family was making a fresh start here. And to have this young man, the light of their family, the shining star of their family, for his life to be so horribly taken away, it’s a tragedy.”
Khan said there will be many prayers at many mosques and in many homes across the city for Ali and his family.
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