The father of two boys killed in a traffic accident that has raised questions about the misuse of high-occupancy-vehicle lanes in the Lower Mainland is relying on his faith to help cope with a tragedy that has plunged his family into a nightmare.
"Andrew and Matthew are gone, but just from our sight. One day, with God's grace, I hope to be with them again," the father said in a statement the RCMP released yesterday.
"The respect and tenderness shown to Andrew and Matthew even after their deaths moved me deeply and was a great comfort to my wife and me."
The father of four's name is not named in the statement, though his sons have previously been identified as Andrew Moeller, 9, and his brother Matthew, 6.
They died last weekend in the 9 a.m. accident in an HOV lane on Highway 1 where it runs through the Vancouver suburb of Coquitlam.
The accident occurred after the family minivan broke down.
The boys were in the back seat of the minivan when it was rear-ended by a BMW sport-utility vehicle with only one occupant, the 26-year-old male driver.
A Toyota, also with only one occupant, then hit the BMW.
The father's mother-in-law, 74, and her sister, 76, were in critical condition yesterday, and a third son, Karl, 8, was in serious condition in B.C. Children's Hospital.
The boys' mother, who was driving, suffered minor injuries. She was taken to hospital and released, along with a one-year-old child and a 49-year-old female passenger.
The statement said Karl's "encouraging" improvement offers hope, but also noted that "his vital signs may be unstable and not within normal limits; he is acutely ill and indicators remain questionable."
The father noted that the organs of his two deceased sons were donated for transplantation.
"It has been a great comfort and joy to know that as organ donors, Andrew and Matthew have helped others live and made a difference to a number of families," the statement said.
RCMP Corporal Peter Thiessen said the family wanted to speak out to thank the community for its support.
"They are dealing with far more than any one family should have to deal with. In particular, this mother is dealing with far more than any mother should be expected to," Cpl. Thiessen said.
"On behalf of my wife, children and family, I'd like to express my deepest appreciation for all the good wishes and prayers for us from so many people," the father's statement said.
Cpl. Thiessen said the driver of the BMW is providing police with information he deems appropriate, but the police spokesman declined further comment on exactly what that means.
"We would like to thank the public for all the information they have been providing. It has been extremely useful in putting the pieces together on what occurred, leading up to it, and during the accident," he said.
The New Democratic Party's transportation critic, MLA Maurine Karagianis (Esquimalt-Metchosin), has said there is a need for a campaign to remind drivers of traffic rules, especially pertaining to HOV lanes, which are reserved for vehicles with more than one passenger.
Some observers have suggested drivers may be less attentive in those lanes because traffic in them tends to be lighter.