Aspiring actor in Kanaka crash dies

Alex Johnson graduated from Garibaldi secondary in 2009.

Alex Johnston he starred in Garibaldi’s production of Love is All in 2010.

Alex Johnston he starred in Garibaldi’s production of Love is All in 2010.

The Garibaldi secondary drama community lost another member last week after Alex Johnston, 21, died Thursday in hospital after a car crash Wednesday night on Kanaka Way.

Johnston, who also goes by the name Alex Jayy, graduated from Garibaldi secondary’s fine arts program in 2009 and was an aspiring actor attending Douglas College’s music program, according to his Facebook profile. In 2010, he starred in Garibaldi’s production of Love is All, and helped create a video of stock war footage for the play’s flash-back scenes.

Johnston was also an accomplished athlete, who finished fourth in the men’s high jump as a senior at the 2009 B.C. Track and Field Championships.

Johnston’s death is the latest blow for the performing arts program at the Maple Ridge high school.

In February, Garibaldi secondary fine arts grad Crystal Weaver was killed a few days shy of her 19th birthday, when the car she was riding in was struck head-on by a mini-van driven by 17-year-old Dawson Spencer, who also died in the crash.

Four other teens, including two recent Garibaldi grads, were injured in the crash.

School district superintendent Jan Unwin said the district has deployed its Critical Incident Team to the school to offer friends and classmates of Johnston counselling and support. The school held a celebration of Johnston’s life Monday night.

“It has been just a terrible year for that community,” said Unwin. “The bond and friendships that form in that program are like a family.”

Johnston died after the car he was driving was T-boned by a pickup truck in the 23800-block of Kanaka Way. He was initially airlifted to Royal Colombian Hospital in New Westminster, but succumbed to his injuries on Thursday.

Maple Ridge firefighters had to use the jaws of life to remove him from the white Honda Civic he was driving after it was struck on the drivers’ side by a blue Chevy pickup just after 7 p.m.

The driver of the pickup was not injured.

Ridge Meadows RCMP believe Johnston was talking on his cellphone when the crash occurred. Witnesses at the scene said the driver of the Honda Civic was stopped at the side of the road and pulled out in front of the truck with no warning.

The police investigation into the crash continues.

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