Driver arrested after fatal Barrhaven crash

A driver has been arrested after a collision in Ottawa's Barrhaven neighbourhood killed a high school student who was driving a different car.

A driver has been arrested after a collision on Tuesday afternoon in Ottawa's Barrhaven neighbourhood killed a high school student who was driving a different car.

Paramedics said the 18-year-old who died lost control of his car on Claridge Drive near Deercroft Avenue, two blocks north of Strandherd Road, just before 2 p.m. His silver Honda crashed into a concrete street light pole that toppled onto the driver's side of the vehicle. Police noted concrete poles are the most difficult to knock over.

The driver was unconscious when paramedics arrived, and remained trapped for about 15 minutes before firefighters and paramedics could reach him, said J. P. Trottier, spokesman for the Ottawa Paramedic Service. The teen was later pronounced dead at the scene.

Friends who gathered near the crumpled silver Honda CRX identified the teen as Christian Williams and said he was a Grade 12 student at nearby Mother Teresa High School. 

An 18-year-old male passenger in the vehicle suffered a suspected concussion and fractured wrist, paramedics said. He was taken to hospital, where he was listed in stable condition.

Shortly after the collision, police arrested the driver of a red Ford Mustang with Florida plates that was pulled over nearby, and seized the vehicle. As of 4:40 p.m., no charges had been laid.

Eric Reinkelurs and Conor Drummond were working on a patio down the street at the time of the crash.

"We … heard loud engine noises, screeching tires, and then a big huge bang," Reinkelurs recalled.

The two arrived to see the silver Honda crushed beneath the light pole, with the driver still inside.

"The passenger got out, went to the other vehicle [the red Mustang] to see his friends," Drummond said.

He said there were four people in the Mustang. Initially, all were questioned by police, but the three passengers were later released.

Deanna Walker, who lives on Claridge Drive, was upstairs at the time of the crash. She went to the vehicle and found the young driver's chest covered in blood.

"It's very upsetting — just a young man, 18 years old," she said. 

Walker said the street is quite busy, as drivers often use it to cut from Woodroffe Avenue to Strandherd Drive.

Police temporarily closed the intersection of Claridge and Strandherd while they investigated. It was reopened by 7:30 p.m.

Christian Williams was to graduate from high school on Thursday.

His friend Eric Louis predicted there will be a lot of tears at the graduation ceremony.

"It's really hard to grow up with somebody and then find out something like this happened," he said.

Williams was called "Sisco" by his friends after Sisqo, the lead singer of the R&B group Dru Hill, because when he was a kid, he dyed his hair blond like his namesake, recalled another friend, Lattanzio Ettore.

"He was just a funny guy, always joking around. I don't think I've seen him angry. He's always laughing, always trying to make people laugh," Ettore said.

Munar Abrun described Williams as a popular guy who loved to play basketball.

Mardi de Kemp, a spokeswoman for the Ottawa Catholic School Board, called Williams's death a "devastating loss." 

"Our prayers go out to his family and friends at this most difficult time," she added in a statement.

The school board will be providing crisis counselling and chaplaincy support at its chapel this week.

"Mother Teresa's graduation ceremony on Thursday will be a very difficult time for its students," de Kemp said.