Teen killed in Maple Ridge violated learner’s licence

Police have confirmed Dawson Spencer had a learner's license and the girl driving the Honda was also in violation of her N

Friends of Dawson Spencer lay flowers at a memorial on Dewdney Trunk Road at Dover Street in Maple Ridge on Monday. Spencer and Crystal Weaver were killed in a head-on collision on Sunday.

Friends of Dawson Spencer lay flowers at a memorial on Dewdney Trunk Road at Dover Street in Maple Ridge on Monday. Spencer and Crystal Weaver were killed in a head-on collision on Sunday.



The din of traffic whizzing along Dewdney Trunk Road drowns the sound of Puff Daddy’s song I’ll be missing you.

As it crackles through a Blackberry speaker, Dawson Spencer’s friends cry. The song was one of his favourites.

Huddled on grass in front of a memorial at Dunbar Street, where the 17-year-old was killed early Sunday, the teens have been given the day off from school to mourn their classmate.

Spencer died when the van he was driving crossed the centre line and crashed head-on into a Honda Civic. Crystal Weaver, a passenger in the Honda, was also killed.

The two boys, who were passengers in Spencer’s van and classmates at Samuel Robertson Technical School, remain in hospital. One has a punctured diaphragm and the other a broken pelvis.

The driver of the Honda is in an induced coma with compound fractures to both her femurs, while a second passenger in the car has since been released. All three girls were friends who graduated from Garibaldi Secondary School together.

“I hope they can learn something from this,” said Sharon McCarten, whose 17-year-old daughter Hilary was one of Spencer’s best friends.

“I don’t think anyone can imagine what the families are going through. I just hope that the kids take something good from this. It is happening way too frequently. It has got to stop.”

Both drivers in the head-on crash should not have been on the road.

According to Ridge Meadows RCMP, Spencer had a learner’s permit, which prohibited him from driving without the supervision of a person over the age of 25. Drivers with a learner’s license are also not allowed to be on the road after midnight.

Spencer was driving his grandmother’s mini-van. Investigators have yet to confirm whether he had permission to drive it.

“Driver inexperience and speed were factors in the crash,” said Sgt. Dale Somerville, adding that Spencer was swerving in and out of traffic prior to hitting the Honda head-on.

The 18-year-old girl who was driving the Honda had a ‘N’, which limited her to one passenger.

“Driving is a privilege, not a right. We understand teenagers are elated in getting a driver’s license, but there is a huge responsibility that goes with getting that driver’s license,” said Somerville.

“We urge new drivers to drive responsiblly and show us that you take this privilege seriously.”

Natasha Ringrose, who knew both the teens who were killed, finds herself stuck in the middle as people begin pointing fingers.

“I miss them both,” the 17-year-old said Monday as teens streamed to the roadside memorial to leave flowers, cards and balloons.

“I can’t blame either of them. It’s hard to hear people say it was Dawson’s fault.”

A candlelight vigil will take place at the crash site on Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

Funerals for both teens are being held on the weekend.

Services

• A memorial service for Dawson Spencer will be held on Friday, Feb. 10 at the Maple Ridge Baptist Church, 22155 Lougheed Highway, at 2 p.m.

• A memorial for Crystal Weaver will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11 at the Maple Ridge Baptist Church. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Mothers Against Drunk Driving or the Breast Cancer Society of Canada.