A candlelight vigil was held Monday evening for two teen soccer players killed by a driver allegedly fleeing police in New Westminster, B.C., last week.
Yabsrat Habtamu Hailu, 17, and Samir Ali, 18, suffered fatal injuries Tuesday when their vehicle was struck near the Burnaby-New Westminster border by a white sedan Metro Vancouver Transit Police say was fleeing a traffic stop.
The duo were on their way home from a soccer match at the time.
“Samir and Yasbirat were really good persons, great friends. They had a really great future ahead of them,” friend and soccer teammate Natnael Dori told Global News.
“(Yasbirat) was the kind of person that would come when it was sunny, raining, snowy, don’t matter. He would always come here and play together until the lights go out. I really miss him.”
Ali, who came to Canada as a refugee from Kenya, was the eldest of nine siblings and had just graduated high school and was preparing to attend the University of British Columbia on a full scholarship, according to a GoFundMe for his family.
Hailu, a refugee from Ethiopia and the eldest of four siblings, was about to enter his senior year of high school, according to a GoFundMe for his family.
Large photos of the teens adorned the New Westminster soccer field where they played over the weekend as teammates hosted a tribute for their fallen friends.
“It’s tragic, sad, really bad,” coach Alex Teklmariam said.
“We try our best to support the family. God is going to be with them to go through this process, but still, it’s a tough loss. We’re going to be supporting the family, whatever we can.”
Monday’s vigil is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the intersection of 10th Avenue and 6th Street, where the collision happened.
Two people have been arrested in the crash, and released on conditions pending the conclusion of the investigation.
Charges of prohibited driving, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death and flight from police are being considered, but no one has been formally charged.