A 19-year-old Pitt Meadows teen died early Friday after crashing into a concrete pillar by Safeway in Maple Ridge.
The crash happened around 3:25 a.m. in the 20200-block of Lougheed Highway and involved just the one vehicle.
Eleni Isacu, a member of the Vancouver All Stars cheer-leading team and Pitt Meadows secondary graduate, was driving west in a silver Honda car when it crossed a sidewalk and crashed into a concrete sign near the parking lot of Tim Horton’s
She died on impact, according to police.
The westbound highway lanes were closed for six hours, while police reconstructed the crash.
Staff Sgt. Hector Lee said investigators believe speed was a factor, but are considering all contributing factors, including whether Isacu fell asleep at the wheel or was using her cellphone.
Friends of Isacu gathered at the crash site on Saturday, where a memorial for the popular young woman filled with photographs, notes and flowers continues to grow.
Isacu is being remembered online as “beautiful girl who touched so many with her kindness.”
“My daughter had the privilege of meeting a person who picked her up when she was down, lifted her smiles and became her friend,” wrote Tiffany Lanaras on the Vancouver All Stars Facebook page.
“When she needed her, she was there. When she needed that extra push to get over that hump she was there. For the inspiration love and kindness that she showed, my daughter she will always be remembered in our hearts.”
Isacu is the third 19-year-old woman killed in a car crash on Lougheed Highway in the span of a year.
Amanda Woodthorpe died on March 8, 2010 when a silver Audi driven by her boyfriend Trevor Livingston slammed into hydro pole in Pitt Meadows. Livingston faces criminal charges in connection with the crash.
Seven months later, on Oct. 19, 2010, Beckie Dyer, 19, and her boyfriend Johnny De Oliveira, 21, were killed when a Toyota Paseo, heading east on Lougheed, skidded sideways over a concrete median near Harris Road.
The Toyota flipped over and slammed into the roof of the Suzuki Swift occupied by Dyer and De Oliveira.
Investigators allege the woman in the Toyota was driving aggressively when she crashed. She has yet to be charged.
Katie Charyna, 19, is now mourning the loss of two close friends – Dyer and Isacu.
“Eleni was literally perfect,” she said. ” That’s how everyone describes her – indestructible and perfect.”
Charyna remembers Isacu was the only person who gave her something on New Year’s Eve – a stuffed moose, she named “Moostifur.” She also brought Charyna a pumpkin spice latté on the day Dyer died because she knew it was her favourite.
“Eleni made everyone feel special,” says Charyna.
“She always somehow knew how to do or say the perfect thing, I’m going to miss her a lot.”
Vancouver All Stars owner Liz Gigante Ulrich will be awarding an athlete scholarship in Isacu’s memory next moth.
The team is currently collecting donations for the scholarship. Cheques can be made out to Worlds Cheer Association, #700 -1515 Broadway St. Port Coquitlam, B.C. V3C 6M2.