The mayor of a small French village in southeast New Brunswick says the community is reeling after four teenagers were killed in a highway crash early Saturday.
RCMP say three 18-year-old men and a 17-year-old boy died when their car veered off Route 115 in Notre-Dame, N.B., crashed into a culvert and rolled several times.
Police say the victims were all from Cap-Pele, N.B., a small fishing village about 50 kilometres southeast of the site of the crash.
Cap-Pele Mayor Debbie Dodier said members of the community of 2,300 were gathering a local school Saturday to mourn the tragic loss.
“Right now, the whole municipality is in shock,” she said in an interview. “It’s four families that lost their child, but there’s more families that are touched by it.”
Dodier said the boys were friends and all played different levels of hockey.
“They were really good kids,” said Dodier, who is also the principal at the community’s Ecole Donat-Robichaud, where some of the young men had attended.
“They were normal kids. Normal kids that liked to play hockey, had dirt bikes. They were just average kids.”
Dodier said one of the boys was graduating this year from Polyvalente Louis-J.-Robichaud in nearby Shediac. She said a Christmas ball that had been scheduled for Saturday night at the school was cancelled and grief counsellors were brought in. Counsellors were also being made available on Sunday afternoon at the Shediac school and at Ecole Donat-Robichaud.
Dodier said the municipality was asking people in the community to keep their Christmas lights turned off until after the victims were buried. She said the flag outside the municipality’s offices was lowered to respect the families.
Condolences were pouring in on Twitter Saturday evening in both English and French.
“Rip to the best big brother i could ever ask for. Always be loved,” tweeted a person who posted under the name Fabien Leger.
“Still can’t believe it, really sad news in Cap-Pele this morning! Rest in peace boys! You’ll never be forgotten, xoxox,” tweeted a person under the name Danielle Leger.
New Brunswick Premier David Alward also extended his sympathies.
“I am deeply saddened by news of the fatal collision in Notre-Dame,” Alward said in a statement Saturday night.
“I extend heartfelt sympathies to the parents, families, friends and communities of the young men who died. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.”
RCMP Corporal Mario Maillet said speed was a factor in the crash, but the investigation is ongoing.
“Three of the individuals were ejected and the fourth had his seatbelt [on] in the vehicle,” Maillet said in an interview.
Police have not released the names of the victims.
Autopsies are to be conducted on Monday.
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