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Fredericton crash leaves 2 teens, young adult dead

Three people – including two teens – are dead, and two others are injured after a crash that has left a greater Fredericton, NB, community shaking.

In the early morning hours of Sunday, two males, aged 22 and 17, and a female, aged 16, died after the vehicle they were traveling in hit a curb along Douglas Avenue, then a tree, went airborne and landed on another parked vehicle – where four occupants were getting ready to leave. Those four people sustained minor injuries.

Two other passengers – a 16-year-old male and 14-year-old female – were also injured. The 16-year-old is being treated for critical injuries at the IWK hospital in Halifax.

“This is quite a tragedy. Three young individuals killed in a single-vehicle crash and one airlifted in critical condition to the IWK,” said Fredericton Police Chief Martin Gaudet. “We have some crashes in our jurisdiction. There’s no doubt. But we don’t have many fatalities. Thank God. We certainly keep stats. But this one is quite significant. It’s a tragedy for the community. It’s a parent’s worst nightmare.”

Gaudet said speed was the main factor, but there is an ongoing investigation to determine if any other factors were involved.

He said there is a criminal investigation ongoing, but it’s been difficult to determine who the driver was.

Critical incident stress management services have been deployed for first responders who were on scene.

“For those of us who’ve been doing this job for a while, you go to those calls, you can’t unsee it,” said Gaudet.

Fredericton Mayor Kate Rogers said it will take the community a while to come to terms with the loss.

“When something like this happens in your city, you’re just stunned. I think we’re all processing this right now, along with the community,” she said.

Some of the victims went to Fredericton’s Leo Hayes High School, where there’s a crisis events response team now in place.

“In visiting the school this morning, it was clear that staff and students were in good hands and getting the support they needed,” said David McTimoney, superintendent for the Anglophone West School District. “Supports will remain in place as long as they are needed. I am sure the community shares our collective grief following this terrible accident.”

Gaudet said an officer did try and stop the vehicle when it passed them on a different street. They put their lights and sirens on, but lost them as they were turning around to follow them. The crash happened several minutes later.

That officer was placed in the area because there’s been a number of complaints from residents about speeding.

The Douglas Avenue area is a neighborhood where the speed limit is 50. It has bike lanes, tiny libraries and many young families.

Residents tell CTV News speed has been an issue for some time.

Jamie Hunter lives across from where the crash happened. He says he’s seen some vehicles going at least 80 kilometers per hour.

“It’s a residential neighborhood with kids and people walking their dogs and I know nothing seems to change,” he said. “We really need, I think, council and whoever oversees us to have a look at places like Douglas Avenue and other places in town, and how do we slow traffic down? How do we manage that? So we can avoid issues in the future like what just happened.”

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