A Reynolds Secondary student who died after being struck by a vehicle Monday night on Cedar Hill Cross Road played the alto saxophone in band, had a great sense of humour and was very vocal in class, say his classmates.
Kaydence Bourque, 16, was about 30 metres from his Merriman Drive home in Saanich when he was hit by a vehicle at 9:45 p.m. in a marked and lighted crosswalk on Cedar Hill Cross Road. He was rushed to Victoria General Hospital in critical condition, and died the next day.
“You just don’t expect something like this to happen … it’s very tragic, very sad,” said Ben, a Grade 11 student and band member with Kaydence at Reynolds. “I was just talking with him the other day.”
Kaydence’s mother, Crystal Bourque, said in a Facebook post her son never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead Tuesday at 4:20 p.m.
“His body is being kept alive until Thursday at 5:30 a.m. when his organs will be used to save up to eight people,” Bourque said in the post. “I have never felt this much pain in all my life. I have not slept in over 40 hours now and I won’t leave his side until the very end.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever recover from this.”
Reynolds Secondary postponed a school concert scheduled for Wednesday after the student’s death.
The Colonist Cup high school boys’ soccer championship game between Reynolds and Claremont, scheduled for Tuesday night at UVic, was also postponed.
Another student and member of the Reynolds band program, Miles, said Kaydence’s death has hit the school and band “pretty hard.
“The band is a close-knit community,” he said at the crash site on Wednesday as he walked home from school.
A GoFundMe campaign for the Bourque family had exceeded its $5,000 goal within two hours Wednesday. By Thursday afternoon, it had topped $43,000.
Proceeds from the campaign will support the Bourque family while they take time to grieve. “It is hoped funds raised will allow some time off work for Kaydence’s parents, Crystal and Doug, and help with other expenses encountered at this awful time,” said organizer Heather Del Villano.
In an email to parents late Wednesday, Reynolds principal Aaron Norris said school counsellors are available to students and there are resources for parents to discuss what happened with their children.
“Hearing this news can be extremely difficult and very hard to process for all of us,” said Norris.
A memory event will be held Friday at the school for Grade 11 students, as a “process of remembrance and moving forward.”
The family has also asked for digital pictures or memories to be sent to RememberKaydenceBourque@gmail.com.
Saanich police are continuing to investigate the incident and said the driver of the vehicle stayed at the scene and was co-operative with investigating officers.
Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes said council and staff are “sharing our grief with the family. “There is a deep sadness when we see the loss of a life, especially someone so young,” said Haynes. “As a father of three sons, I can’t imagine what it feels like to have such a loss.”
Haynes said Saanich police are conducting a thorough investigation, and the public should await the full results of that probe before blaming speed or infrastructure along Cedar Hill Cross Road for the death.
Neighbours, however, say it’s a dangerous stretch of roadway, as drivers often exceed the 50-kilometre-per-hour speed limit.
Three schools are in the area, along with an assisted living facility for children and youth across from the crosswalk. Many students use the crosswalk to get to school and go to part-time jobs after classes.
Chuck Spence, who lives just off the crosswalk and has five children, said his worst nightmare has come true with the death of the Reynolds student. He said he was “heartbroken and shaken” by the news his neighbours on Merriman had lost their son Wednesday.
“This has really messed me up,” said Spence. “I’ve seen him a lot in the neighbourhood … a great kid.
“They really have to do something about this road.”
Cedar Hill Cross Road has been the site of two serious collisons over the past four years.
On March 12, 2020, a 67-year-old woman was fatally injured after she was struck by a vehicle at Cedar Hill Cross Road and Blenkinsop Road. She was initially unidentified until next of kin were located after her death in hospital
On Jan. 25, 2017, a vehicle heading east on Cedar Hill Cross Road crossed into oncoming traffic, went onto the sidewalk and struck a pedestrian, who sustained life-threatening injuries.The SUV crashed through a fence and came to rest in a yard at the corner of Cedar Hill Cross Road and Marjean Place.
Corey Burger, policy and infrastructure chair of bicycle-advocacy group Capital Bike, said Saanich has to move more quickly on implementing its Active Transportation Plan, making travel on foot and by bike safer.
He said that includes more sidewalks, improved crosswalks, bike lanes and traffic-calming measures.
“If you don’t do this, there will be more collisions, more [deaths] and life-altering injuries,” said Burger.
The stretch of Cedar Hill Cross Road from St. Luke Anglican Church at Cedar Hill Road crests a hill, where the bike lane disappears, and proceeds downhill to the crosswalk at Merriman Place. Vehicles pick up speed on a graded curve and cyclists are forced into the roadway as the bike lane ends and vehicles jockey to get ahead, often moving into the oncoming traffic lane, says Philip Marciniak.
The Saanich resident operates an appliance-repair business from his cargo bike and has seen “many close calls” on that stretch, including the crosswalk. “When the bike lane ends, it’s like the Indiana Jones movie where he’s being chased by a boulder. It’s downhill, the sidewalks fade and reappear … it’s an awful place,” said Marciniak.
Marciniak is staging a “solidarity meeting about vulnerable road user safety” at Saanich Municipal Hall on Friday at 2 p.m., saying he doesn’t want to politicize the death of Kaydence, but he wants to raise awareness about the hazards on Saanich roads.
“It’s heartbreaking what happened to this young person,” he said. “I see safety hazards every day.”
Saanich is in the second year of its 30-year Active Transportation Plan and has completed some new traffic signals and crosswalks, bike lanes and safe routes to and from schools.