When a young, talented man died in a car accident last year, he had no idea that he would inspire a fight for road signs in Maple Ridge.
Raven Candau thinks its the fault of the roads design, and by extension, the District of Maple Ridge, that her grandson is dead.
The older-model Honda Civic that Alex Johnston, 21, was driving was T-boned by a truck on Kanaka Way during the early evening of April 18, 2012.
Candau wants signs put up along that same section of road, warning people to slow down on the hill especially given that there is a blind corner there.
"I think its the fault of the municipality for having the speed limit too fast," she said. "I mean, how are you supposed to slow down in a nanosecond doing 50 km/h around that bend that you cant see? What if there was a kid walking out?"
The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia sent a letter addressed to Alex after his death saying he was 100 per cent at fault for the accident, and informing him they were going to raise the cost of his insurance.
"I phoned them they said [addressing the letter to Alex] shouldnt have happened. That it was an oversight," said Candau, gleaning little solace from the apology.
"He had such a future. He was a singer, a dancer, an actor, a model. Every single one of his friends said Alex was their best friend," Grandma said.
More than 600 people attended the celebration of life for Alex at Garibaldi Secondary, the school he graduated from in 2009.
"He was so loved. They all said Alex inspired them and gave them confidence. If there ever was a situation where somebody was a fifth-wheel, he would go right over and bring that person in," said Candau, who is now fighting to have his death motivate change.
She was invited by District of Maple Ridge municipal engineer David Pollock to write a letter about her road safety concerns.
She was told that, when he received it, he would put it forward to council but he could not add it to the agenda this time.
That made Candau more upset, explaining that she has been unable to talk about Alexs death until now.
"We are devastated, all of us," she said.
Just moments before pulling out in front of a 4X4 truck and crashing into it, Alex had been on his phone.
Police have since determined that cellphone use was a factor in the accident.
"The investigation showed driver error and that he had been on his electronic device," said Ridge Meadows RCMP Sgt. Dale Somerville, who concluded, "Line of sight was not an issue. The investigation is now closed."
But Alex is dead because of a speed issue, not because he was on his cellphone, maintains his grandpa Norm Johnston.
"He was such a careful driver," Norm said.
"I remember seeing stuff posted on his Facebook when he was on the transit bus, looking out the window, This is to the idiot who is driving while talking on his cell. He was so against it," his grandfather added.
"We are not looking to lay blame on the other driver, we just want to fix what caused the accident. Neither driver could see each other," Norm insisted.
The other driver was not injured in the crash.
@ Copyright 2013