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July 25, 2014





Death of teenager mourned on island
by Arlene Benham


      One Grand Manan teenager was killed and four others were injured when their minivan left the Whistle Road and crashed on July 13. The accident happened around 9:30 p.m. Danielle Park, 17, was a passenger in the van and died at the scene. Two girls and two boys aged 14 to 17 were injured. All have since been released from hospital.
     An accident reconstructionist worked at the scene, and the incident is still under investigation; an RCMP update was unavailable by press time.
     Park was a basketball star who played for both junior and senior school teams, as well as a provincial team. She was involved in many school activities and was the 2014 graduating class's valedictorian. She was planning to attend Mount Allison University on a scholarship in the fall and had been selected for their basketball team. She hoped to return to Grand Manan as a teacher and was working at the island's art gallery for a second summer.
     Community Life Church and the Grand Manan Community School were both open during the following week for students to gather and speak to counselors. They were also able to create banners with drawings or notes in memory of their friend and teammate. Many of the participants in the Boys' and Girls' Club's 10-kilometre run and half‑marathon on July 18 walked or ran in her memory.
      Mayor Dennis Greene told CTV News that she was a young person with great potential who would be "going places. She contributed a lot to the community."
     Park's father Michael has said the family is overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from islanders. The funeral service was held on July 17 at the community school, the only place big enough to accommodate the crowd. So many were expected that a shuttle bus service was set up to transport attendees from a parking area at the community centre. Many island businesses closed for the day as the close‑knit community mourned the loss. A memorial scholarship fund has been established.
     Her teammates all signed a basketball to send off with her. "I love you," one wrote. "Dunk it in the clouds for me."

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