Source: St. Catharines Standard
A Niagara Falls teen is dead and three others were injured after the vehicle they were travelling in veered off the Niagara River Parkway and collided with a concrete water intake Saturday morning, say Niagara Parks Police.
The male, who police wouldn’t identify, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Three other Niagara Falls teens, also unidentified, were taken to Greater Niagara General Hospital for injuries not considered life threatening.
Niagara Parks Police closed off the area to investigate the incident.
Police said the car was travelling south on the Niagara River Parkway just after 6 a.m., when the driver lost control.
The vehicle, a 2003 Volkswagen Golf, went off the road near Niagara Christian Community of Schools, became airborne and hit the water intake, before becoming partially submerged in the Niagara River, police said.
The driver was charged with dangerous driving causing death and criminal negligence causing death.
Matt Fokkens, who was going on a morning bike ride, was in the area at the time and rushed to the scene of the collision to assist the vehicle’s occupants.
“They started to swerve,” said Fokkens, who is director of site operations at NCC and lives at the back of the property.
“They lost control of the vehicle and were swerving back and forth. I saw the guys go around the corner at a good speed. All of a sudden I heard this ‘boom,’ like a metal car sound smash.”
Fokkens said he initially thought the vehicle may have hit a tree. But as he peddled around the NCC building, he noticed a man outside of a stopped vehicle at the side of the road, looking into the river.
The man was Gary Haas, an off-duty paramedic who was on his way to work.
Fokkens said he and Haas helped three men out of the vehicle and on to shore, and quickly shifted their focus on the fourth man, a passenger, who was still in the vehicle and wearing his seat belt.
“We had to cut the seat belt off of him. We tried to pull him out, but his legs were stuck,” said Fokkens. “Gary went around and got his legs unstuck and he and I pulled the guy out. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it.”
Fokkens said by this time, emergency personnel had arrived on scene.
“They were coming towards me as I was headed to work,” said Haas, an advanced-care paramedic. “I saw them swerving. They went into the water about 100 feet ahead of me.”
Haas said he immediately called 911.
“It’s a shame. We see this too frequently on the Parkway. People think it’s a drag strip. It’s absolutely tragic how lives can change because of one accident.”
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