‘These girls did everything right’: Families of Highway 1 crash victims pick up the pieces

A woman in her twenties has died after an early morning crash on Highway 1 in Burnaby Sunday. Three others were sent to hospital, two of them remain in critical condition. Kate Walker reports.

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Shockwaves are pulsing through the community of Maple Ridge this week, after a fatal crash on Highway 1 shattered the lives of four friends.

Four young women were taking an Uber home at about 3:45 a.m. Sunday after a night of birthday celebrations, when their ride stopped on the highway near the Sprott Street exit in Burnaby.

Jennifer Miller is the mother of one of those women. She says her daughter’s friend helped her get out of the Uber, which had stopped because her daughter felt sick.

Only moments later, another car slammed into them from behind, hitting the two women at the back of the vehicle first and then colliding with the Uber. One of the women died on scene, and two others were taken to hospital. Miller’s daughter survived with minor injuries.

The four families at the centre of the tragedy are now left trying to figure out how to pick up the pieces.

Miller tells CityNews she never expected something like this to happen to her family. She says the four friends are between 20 and 21-years-old.

“I never thought on Sunday morning I would get a phone call, while I was having a ladies weekend on Vancouver Island, that my daughter might not be alive,” Miller said.

“Just hold your kids close because you never know when you’re going to see them again.”

Miller says her daughter only sustained minor injuries, including some road rash and lacerations, thanks to the actions of one of her friends, who remains in hospital.

“One of the girls got out and held my daughter’s hair. My daughter said she finished getting sick and stood up from leaning over the median and her friend screamed her name at the top of her lungs and pushed her,” Miller said.

“She saved my daughter’s life.”

Now, Miller says her daughter is recovering “as best as she can.”

“She’s not letting herself deal with any of it right now. She’s just trying to wait until her friends get better. I know that her friends are going to be waking up and not knowing that one of their friends passed away,” Miller said.

“I am hoping people understand that these girls did everything right. They took an Uber, they did everything that they were supposed to do safely.”

Miller calls the friends the “four musketeers” because they’re so close and rarely spotted alone. She considers each one a part of her own family.

“They had a trip booked to go to Toronto at the end of the month. I was going to drop them off at the airport… because Toronto is the cool place to go, not Las Vegas, when you turn 21,” Miller said.

Now, Miller says the trip has been cancelled.

Before the crash, Miller says the friends did everything together.

“When they hate their parents, when they fall in love, when they hate eachother. They always have the other one right? There’s four of them and they do everything together,” she said.

“Now one of them is gone.”

Miller says two of her daughter’s friends remain in hospital, both in medically-induced comas and on ventilation.

“One of them is at Royal Columbian, she’s still on a ventilator. They are going to try and wake her up today,” Miller said Tuesday.

The other friend is at Vancouver General Hospital, Miller says, where doctors have said the woman’s left calf may have to be amputated in some way.

“I don’t know if they will have to amputate part of her leg or if they are going to be able to save it. They were taking her back into surgery last night,” Miller said.

“One of her kidneys is failing, they had to repair her bladder and I believe her pelvis is shattered.”

At the time of the collision, the BC Highway patrol confirmed a white Tesla operating as an Uber pulled over near the exit so the driver could “attend to one of the four passengers.”

It said a Chevrolet SUV then hit the Tesla from behind, killing one passenger on the spot and sending the three others to hospital. The Uber driver was also taken to hospital.

A spokesperson for Uber told CityNews the company would reach out to the driver and person who ordered the ride.

“The details of this crash are heartbreaking. We offer our deepest sympathies to all those impacted and stand ready to support law enforcement however we can as they investigate,” the spokesperson stated.

The company adds it has a public safety team that’s available specifically to assist law enforcement with investigations.

BC Highway patrol says the crash is still under investigation, but alcohol is not believed to have been a factor. It adds the driver of the other vehicle was released from the scene with minor injuries.

In the days since the crash, Miller has started a GoFundMe to help cover medical costs and bills for the three surviving friends, and to help cover the cost of a celebration of life for the friend who didn’t survive.

“I just want these girls to get better, I just want them to come home,” Miller said.

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