Minor hockey community rocked by crash

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Christmas lost a lot of its shine this year for several area families, in the aftermath of last Thursday's fatal accident on Hwy. 6.

They lost friends and a teammate, when 13-year-old Francesco Porto, along with his mother, 43-year-old Vivian Porto, his sister, 10-year-old Azzadin Porto and cousin, 10-year-old Emily Porto, passed away in the collision that took place just before 11 p.m. on December 22. But the AAA Junior Bulldogs, including the four local teens who shared the ice with Francesco, are taking comfort in togetherness.

The Porto family was returning home to Hamilton from a hockey game in Guelph. Blustery winds had created slippery drifting snow across the highway. The car skidded on a drift, veering into the northbound lane just north of Parkside Drive, where it was broadsided by an oncoming SUV, killing all four family members.

The driver of the SUV, a 40-year-old Cambridge man, is still in critical condition, and may not survive. His three passengers suffered non-life-threatening injuries; one has been released from hospital, according to the OPP, which has not released the names of the victims, at the request of the families.

The accident sent a shockwave through the local minor hockey community. The team has been coping day-by-day, and has been working through the tragedy together, said their coach, Ken Jeysman, who lives in Freelton.

Since the accident, the team has been together nearly every day.

"The kids said they wanted to keep together," said Jeysman. Although they dropped out of a recent tournament, they've met to attend group counseling sessions, and have spent time together on the ice. They also attended the visitation and funeral services as a team earlier this week.

"It's tough for a 13-year-old to see something like this happen to a friend," said Jeysman.

Although it's been hard on the team, Jeysman feels they're coping well with the loss. "They're coming along, step by step," he said. "They're coping with one of their friends not being there."

Francesco was a quiet, considerate person, who was well liked by his team, said Jeysman. "He always had a knack for saying the right things at the right time. He was a very good hockey player, but an even better young man."

To honour Francesco's memory, every player in the league now wears a black emblem with a white number 11 - Francesco's number - sewn to the left shoulder of their jersey.

The accident has renewed debate over the safety of Hwy. 6, often dubbed "Killer 6." Many local residents and associations have called for snow fencing to prevent this kind of tragedy.

Ward 15 councillor Margaret McCarthy's office has submitted a request to the Ministry of Transportation to erect snow fencing, but admits there's no simple solution to the safety conditions of the highway, which connects Hwys. 401 and 403.

According to Sergeant Pivar of the Burlington OPP, who was on scene the night of the accident, there are many accidents on the road, but many can be prevented by drivers slowing down.

"Hwy. 6 connects the 401 and the 403. When people get on it, they don't realize that it's not the same level of road," he said.

However, the cause of this accident was not speed-related; there was no evidence of speeding by either driver.

"Both north and south of the site, it was dry pavement, but the winds were strong. This poor mother was driving properly, but she hit snow. It probably blinded her, and she lost control for whatever reason.

"It's one of those unfortunate things," Pivar said.

Minor hockey community rocked by crash

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Christmas lost a lot of its shine this year for several area families, in the aftermath of last Thursday's fatal accident on Hwy. 6.

They lost friends and a teammate, when 13-year-old Francesco Porto, along with his mother, 43-year-old Vivian Porto, his sister, 10-year-old Azzadin Porto and cousin, 10-year-old Emily Porto, passed away in the collision that took place just before 11 p.m. on December 22. But the AAA Junior Bulldogs, including the four local teens who shared the ice with Francesco, are taking comfort in togetherness.

The Porto family was returning home to Hamilton from a hockey game in Guelph. Blustery winds had created slippery drifting snow across the highway. The car skidded on a drift, veering into the northbound lane just north of Parkside Drive, where it was broadsided by an oncoming SUV, killing all four family members.

The driver of the SUV, a 40-year-old Cambridge man, is still in critical condition, and may not survive. His three passengers suffered non-life-threatening injuries; one has been released from hospital, according to the OPP, which has not released the names of the victims, at the request of the families.

The accident sent a shockwave through the local minor hockey community. The team has been coping day-by-day, and has been working through the tragedy together, said their coach, Ken Jeysman, who lives in Freelton.

Since the accident, the team has been together nearly every day.

"The kids said they wanted to keep together," said Jeysman. Although they dropped out of a recent tournament, they've met to attend group counseling sessions, and have spent time together on the ice. They also attended the visitation and funeral services as a team earlier this week.

"It's tough for a 13-year-old to see something like this happen to a friend," said Jeysman.

Although it's been hard on the team, Jeysman feels they're coping well with the loss. "They're coming along, step by step," he said. "They're coping with one of their friends not being there."

Francesco was a quiet, considerate person, who was well liked by his team, said Jeysman. "He always had a knack for saying the right things at the right time. He was a very good hockey player, but an even better young man."

To honour Francesco's memory, every player in the league now wears a black emblem with a white number 11 - Francesco's number - sewn to the left shoulder of their jersey.

The accident has renewed debate over the safety of Hwy. 6, often dubbed "Killer 6." Many local residents and associations have called for snow fencing to prevent this kind of tragedy.

Ward 15 councillor Margaret McCarthy's office has submitted a request to the Ministry of Transportation to erect snow fencing, but admits there's no simple solution to the safety conditions of the highway, which connects Hwys. 401 and 403.

According to Sergeant Pivar of the Burlington OPP, who was on scene the night of the accident, there are many accidents on the road, but many can be prevented by drivers slowing down.

"Hwy. 6 connects the 401 and the 403. When people get on it, they don't realize that it's not the same level of road," he said.

However, the cause of this accident was not speed-related; there was no evidence of speeding by either driver.

"Both north and south of the site, it was dry pavement, but the winds were strong. This poor mother was driving properly, but she hit snow. It probably blinded her, and she lost control for whatever reason.

"It's one of those unfortunate things," Pivar said.

Minor hockey community rocked by crash

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Christmas lost a lot of its shine this year for several area families, in the aftermath of last Thursday's fatal accident on Hwy. 6.

They lost friends and a teammate, when 13-year-old Francesco Porto, along with his mother, 43-year-old Vivian Porto, his sister, 10-year-old Azzadin Porto and cousin, 10-year-old Emily Porto, passed away in the collision that took place just before 11 p.m. on December 22. But the AAA Junior Bulldogs, including the four local teens who shared the ice with Francesco, are taking comfort in togetherness.

The Porto family was returning home to Hamilton from a hockey game in Guelph. Blustery winds had created slippery drifting snow across the highway. The car skidded on a drift, veering into the northbound lane just north of Parkside Drive, where it was broadsided by an oncoming SUV, killing all four family members.

The driver of the SUV, a 40-year-old Cambridge man, is still in critical condition, and may not survive. His three passengers suffered non-life-threatening injuries; one has been released from hospital, according to the OPP, which has not released the names of the victims, at the request of the families.

The accident sent a shockwave through the local minor hockey community. The team has been coping day-by-day, and has been working through the tragedy together, said their coach, Ken Jeysman, who lives in Freelton.

Since the accident, the team has been together nearly every day.

"The kids said they wanted to keep together," said Jeysman. Although they dropped out of a recent tournament, they've met to attend group counseling sessions, and have spent time together on the ice. They also attended the visitation and funeral services as a team earlier this week.

"It's tough for a 13-year-old to see something like this happen to a friend," said Jeysman.

Although it's been hard on the team, Jeysman feels they're coping well with the loss. "They're coming along, step by step," he said. "They're coping with one of their friends not being there."

Francesco was a quiet, considerate person, who was well liked by his team, said Jeysman. "He always had a knack for saying the right things at the right time. He was a very good hockey player, but an even better young man."

To honour Francesco's memory, every player in the league now wears a black emblem with a white number 11 - Francesco's number - sewn to the left shoulder of their jersey.

The accident has renewed debate over the safety of Hwy. 6, often dubbed "Killer 6." Many local residents and associations have called for snow fencing to prevent this kind of tragedy.

Ward 15 councillor Margaret McCarthy's office has submitted a request to the Ministry of Transportation to erect snow fencing, but admits there's no simple solution to the safety conditions of the highway, which connects Hwys. 401 and 403.

According to Sergeant Pivar of the Burlington OPP, who was on scene the night of the accident, there are many accidents on the road, but many can be prevented by drivers slowing down.

"Hwy. 6 connects the 401 and the 403. When people get on it, they don't realize that it's not the same level of road," he said.

However, the cause of this accident was not speed-related; there was no evidence of speeding by either driver.

"Both north and south of the site, it was dry pavement, but the winds were strong. This poor mother was driving properly, but she hit snow. It probably blinded her, and she lost control for whatever reason.

"It's one of those unfortunate things," Pivar said.