Crash victims were Surrey high school sweethearts

SURREY/DELTA — The two teenagers killed in a five-car crash along a Delta stretch of road between Highway 91 and Scott Road late Monday afternoon have been identified as Clayton Heights Secondary students.

Chantal MacLean and her boyfriend Cody Kehler, both 17, were on their way to a family dinner on Oct. 13 when their vehicle lost control on a curve and went into oncoming traffic. Both died in the impact.

Family and friends have taken to social media to share the tragic news.

“It is with a broken heart I share this news. Last night, my beautiful little sister, Chantal, passed away in a car accident. I can’t cry enough tears to make it better. It doesn’t feel real,” said Shakeira MacLean via Facebook.

“She was with her boyfriend Cody, on their way to his family’s Thanksgiving dinner. They both passed away instantly because of the impact of the crash and we were told there was no suffering.

“I don’t know what to say other than this feels so unfair. My heart aches.”

Both teens were avid rugby players. MacLean played for her high school team while Kehler competed for the BC Happy Water under-17 provincial squad, which won nationals this past summer. His B.C. U-18 Men’s coach, Curry Hitchborn, said Kehler earned the nickname “Clark Kent” from his teammates for his off-field demeanour.

“He was selected not only for his athletic capabilities but for his character. Forthright and humble, as well as diligent and conscientious. He was exactly what a coach looks for when selecting an elite team.”

Hitchborn said Kehler was an excellent student and a brave young man with an ability to put those around him at ease, adding he will be a model for other aspiring athletes.

Liam Sullivan, a high school friend, posted his thoughts on Facebook:

“I remember the first time I ever met Cody. It was his first day at Clayton, and he came into my P.E class to introduce himself. I walked up to him, shook his hand and the first words that came out of my mouth were; ‘Do you play rugby?’. The rest is history. From that moment on I had a new friend. Soon a teammate. I had grown (to) know one of the kindest, funniest, and brilliant rugby players I’ll ever have the absolute honour to call friend. The memories we shared were not as plentiful as I would have liked, but I’ll be damned if they weren’t bloody brilliant. What a guy you were, mate. I’ll never forget you.”

MacLean was a star athlete at Clayton Heights Seconday in girls rugby. The teen led her Tier II B.C. high school team, the Night Riders, to a provincial championship last May in Vancouver, scoring three converts in a 31-5 victory over Alberni. MacLean was also named to Team BC’s U-18 roster, and in August went on to win national gold in Calgary by defeating Ontario 10-7.

MacLean’s team manager, Brad Baker, posted his condolences on the website: “She was a fantastic person on and off the rugby field. She was the ultimate teammate who would do whatever it took for the team to be successful. Chantal was a passionate individual who was always trying to be a better rugby player and more importantly a better person. Chantal will be missed by the rugby community near and far.”

The couple, who had been dating since the beginning of the 2012 school year, were popular students at Clayton Heights Secondary. The school will have extra counsellors on hand this week to deal with grief counselling.


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