Friends weep for Maple Ridge girl killed in crash

Roadside memorial set up at sharp corner on 248th Street

Annalise Gardner had stars in her eyes.

The 16-year-old Garibaldi secondary student played a role in the 2016 thriller movie Poignant, and she sang and danced.

“She was an excellent singer,” Luca Maurizio said Wednesday at the roadside memorial on the sharp corner on 248th Street, where Gardner died after the car she was riding in plunged off an embankment early Tuesday.

According to Ridge Meadows RCMP, the crash occurred in the 13000-block of 248th street around 1:15 a.m.

Police said a dark coloured northbound Volkswagen hatchback left the road and went down an embankment.

The male driver is in hospital in serious condition, while a male passenger is in critical condition.

Gardner died at the scene.

“You couldn’t look at her without smiling too, just a nice person who didn’t have a mean bone in her body,” said Maurizio, a friend.

“She loved everyone and everyone loved her,” he added.

“She was an actor, a singer, a dancer,” said friend Amber Johnson-Belanger.

Under one photo on her Facebook page, Gardener thanked her mom for coming to see her in a screening of Poignant and for supporting her in her career.

Maurizio was joined at the memorial scene on the roadside by a few other of Gardner’s friends.

He said he’ll remember her smile and that she was always there for people.

“She’ll be missed a lot, probably one of the best friends you could ask for. She always had a smile on her face, she was never upset.”

He said that the cross at roadside will remind people every time they go around the corner to drive carefully.

“She loved everyone and everyone loved her.”

Alex Robinson, one of her friends, was also at the memorial.

“I didn’t know her for long time, but the time I did was the best time of my life,” he added.

He said he’d do anything to get that time back.

“She always cared for anyone when they needed it, regardless of what they’ve done,” he said as sirens blared in the background.

Residents in the area have said the corner is unsafe. Only a single diamond-shaped warning sign with an arrow tells motorists northbound on 248th Street that there’s a sharp bend ahead as the road drops in the Alouette River valley. There’s also a partial barricade.

Sandy MacKinnon lives at the bottom of the embankment by Allco Park and was woken early Tuesday by her sons, who had heard the crash. They heard people calling from the scene and called 911. Then they all piled into a vehicle to drive up the road to locate the accident scene.

Paramedics arrived soon after.

“I’ve just been sick about it. I can’t imagine that knock on the door, sickening.”

She’s also calling for improvements to the corner, maybe by widening the road to make a more gradual bend.

Other accidents have happened at that location, she added.

“There’s a lot of traffic that comes down,” she said.

Mayor Nicole Read said the teen’s death is a tragic loss for the community.

“Obviously, she was a much-loved person. It’s hard for everybody, all the staff at Garibaldi. It’s a difficult time.”

The police investigation will help understand the corner and if barriers are warranted, then the city would install those.

“We have to let the RCMP go through their process,” Read said.

She added the city is reviewing previous accidents at that location.

“We’re dealing with a rural road. Safety is a priority, so anything we can do to improve safety, the city of course, is going to do.”

 

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