Published August 29, 2022

3 young athletes killed in Barrie crash confirmed by sports leagues

Police have not identified the victims

With files from The Canadian Press

Barrie police say the investigation into a crash in the south part of the city that claimed six lives will take time to complete.

Police located the single-vehicle crash scene around two Sunday morning on McKay Road near Veteran's Drive.

On Saturday, police reported six missing persons, four males and two females, all in their early 20s, and were believed to be the six people found dead in the crash.

While police have not identified the victims, several sports leagues in the community have publicly identified three of the victims.

In a Facebook post by Simcoe County Football (SCF), the organization identified Curtis King and River Wells, two former athletes who played for the Innisfil Invaders and Barrie North Vikings.

"We not only remember these great athletes for what they did on the field but remember the great people they were in life. May they Rest In Peace," SCF said.

The Barrie Minor Lacrosse Association (BMLA) said on its Facebook page Sunday that one of the victims is Luke West, a 22-year-old player and coach with the organization.

Image/Luke West - Barrie Minor Lacrosse - Facebook

The post said “Westy” was part of Barrie lacrosse for “almost his entire life.”

"It's heart-wrenching," Loren Mathias said, a close friend and former classmate of Jersey Mitchell and Haley Marin.

"These are people that had so much life ahead of them and so many plans ... The community feels like we've been cheated."

Mathias said she met Marin, 21, in elementary school 10 years ago, while she met Mitchell in a Grade 10 science class and they developed an "all-around really special friendship." The three of them attended Barrie North Collegiate and attended prom together.

Mitchell, 20, was caring, kindhearted, Mathias said. 

"She always loved to goof around, she always loved to make people laugh," Mathias said. 

Mitchell was passionate about outdoor activities like cheerleading and hunting, Mathias said, but cared about her family and friends more than anything.

"We always said we were going to do stuff like that together," said Mathias. "She would tell me about her dad a lot and her family, she was very family-oriented."

Mathias recalled riding the bus home from school with Mitchell most days, having sleepovers, going on late-night drives and having "deep talks" but also laughing until their stomachs hurt.

"Jersey didn't know exactly what she wanted to do, but she wanted to help people," she said. Mathias said the pair would stay up late at her house making pros-and-cons lists for different occupations.

"We were trying to help each other figure out what we wanted to go to school for, but she was really motivated to go to college or university," she said. "She really wanted to make the right choice on what she wanted to pursue long-term and it definitely revolved around helping people."

Mathias described Marin as "family-oriented" and "a really loyal friend." 

"She always talked about how much she loved her mom and her brothers. She always helped me with my schoolwork from every single year of my life," said Mathias. "She always wanted to make sure that people around her succeeded."

She said Marin was passionate about issues of addiction and mental health, and studied social work at Georgian College in Barrie.

Numerous campaigns are underway to help the families of the victims offset funeral expenses, including Ripple of Kindness Barrie.

The group posted a picture of the six young people on Facebook.

"We are Ripple of Kindness Barrie. A group of local women who support local charitable organizations and ripple kindness in the community. We are mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts and grandmothers saddened by this immense loss and offer our sincere condolences to the families. We are here collectively to reach out to our community to help support these families in their time of need," the group said on its post. "While this is beyond our usual scope to raise funds, we feel these are extenuating circumstances. There has been an overwhelming outpour from the community to set up a combined fund to help all families. It is our goal to raise funds to help pay or offset the cost of funeral expenses for the families of Curtis King, Haley Marin, Jersey Mitchell, Jason O'Connor, River Wells, and Luke West."

The group posted a link to their campaign:

The City of Barrie said the road on which the collision happened was the site of a municipal construction project and the intersection has been closed since the spring, except to local traffic.

Google Maps

“We were devastated to hear the news of an accident in the area of McKay Road West and Veteran’s Drive,” said Michael Prowse, Chief Administrative Officer and City Manager. “The area was a construction site being managed by city contractors to deliver the design, construction and financing of the water, sewer and road work along McKay Road and Veteran’s Drive to service new development in the area. The road has been fully closed and signed accordingly for many months.”

Banner image: A memorial is shown near the scene of a fatal crash in Barrie, Ont., Monday, Aug.29, 2022. Police have said four men and two women who were reported missing on Saturday are believed to be six people found dead in a crash early Sunday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jordan Omstead

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