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Surrey father witnessed crash aftermath

Flowers and notes of condolence were left at the Sachdeva Sweets Restaurant in Surrey on Monday. The restaurant is owned by the family of the five victims killed in a crash at 32 Avenue and 176 Street on April 28. - Evan Seal / The Leader
Flowers and notes of condolence were left at the Sachdeva Sweets Restaurant in Surrey on Monday. The restaurant is owned by the family of the five victims killed in a crash at 32 Avenue and 176 Street on April 28.
— image credit: Evan Seal / The Leader

The birthday cake intended for two children killed in a horrific car accident Sunday remained at their father's home on Monday.

Gurmit (Jolly) Sachdeva told visiting mourner Gurpreet Singh that cake would never be cut.

Sachdeva waited at home on Sunday for his family to return from worship services.

He became anxious when they were late, then heard on the radio there was a terrible car crash at 32 Avenue and 176 Street.

He drove to the intersection and saw the family car had been sheared in half, and all five occupants – his three-year-old daughter Jessica, five-year-old son Annish, sister Neelam Dhingra, 47, mother Vidya, 68 and his wife Pawandeep, 31, – were dead.

When Singh, also a Radio India host, arrived at the home to offer condolences on Monday, Gurmit and several friends were crying unconsolably.

"He said 'we had a cake which is still waiting for my child,' " Singh recalled, explaining though it was five-year-old Annish's birthday, Jessica's was also being celebrated because it was close.

The three generations of the Sachdeva family were killed on Sunday at 11 a.m. when their 1994 Toyota Corolla, traveling northbound on 176 Street collided with a white 2012 Dodge Caravan, which was heading west on 32 Avenue.

The collision sheared the Toyota in half, flipped the minivan onto its roof and scattered debris for at least 100 metres.

The impact was so destructive, police could not immediately determine the make or model of the car.

At a news conference Monday, Surrey RCMP Insp. Lee Chanin said it is likely that the van’s driver will face charges.

Police are investigating witness reports that allege the van went through a red light.

The intersection was closed for several hours as police investigated.

The Lower Mainland Integrated Collision Analyst/Reconstruction Services team is also investigating.

In light of the accident, Surrey's transportation committee will examine the safety of that corner.

In particular, the committee will examine the possibility of putting an advance yellow light for traffic to prepare to stop on 32 Avenue.

"I think making things safer after an incident is always important," said committee chair Tom Gill.

Whatever work is done there will have to be initiated and paid for by the B.C. Ministry of Transportation, as 176 Street is a provincial highway.

That said, the city can put political pressure on the province to start the any improvements.

The date of the next transportation committee is May 13.

@diakiw

 

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