Grieving father Dalbert Attfield woke up early Sunday morning and made his way to a rural Saskatchewan intersection, just outside of Lloydminster, where his son and five other teens were killed in a collision early Saturday morning.
"I came this morning by myself at six o'clock … made a cross for my little man," Attfield said.
Still in shock and disbelief, Attfield explained through his tears why he put up the wooden cross for his son Tarren Attfield, 15, and his friends at the crash site where Township Road 490 meets Range Road 3273.
"I see it in the ditches where other people has family that dies, and I just wanted to put it there … I just felt that's all I could do," he said. "What else can you do?"
Three males and three females were killed when a car and a tanker truck hauling crude oil collided at about 4:20 a.m. MT Saturday morning.
Police have identified the victims as:
- Aimie Hurley, 14, from Lloydminster.
- Mackenzie Moen, 14, from Lloydminster.
- Naomi Salas-Schafer, 13, from Lloydminster.
- Kristopher Tavener, 17, from Marshall, Sask.
- Tarren Attfield, 15, from Lashburn, Sask.
- Jayden Boettcher, 16, from Marshall, Sask.
Initially, police found the tractor-trailer rolled over in a slough, where they also discovered the body of a teenage boy, who had been thrown out of the car.
The driver of the semi and the teen were rushed to hospital, where the boy was later pronounced dead. The driver sustained undetermined injuries and is listed in stable condition.
Some time later emergency crews found the car with the other five teens completely submerged in the water and pulled out the bodies.
Having to identify his son was a heartbreaking experience, Attfield said.
"But we still had to go see him, kiss him and hug him goodbye," he said. "He was all broken up, broken wrist and everything."
The RCMP have not confirmed the cause of the accident, but said no alcohol was found in the car.
Tavener's parents called their son a "protective big brother and a loving son," a "true and faithful friend" who was a gifted hockey player.
He enjoyed fishing, hunting and spending time in the outdoors.
"A part of our world has been taken, we will never ever forget you and love you always," the family said in a statement.
Boettcher was described by his mother as an avid fitness enthusiast who loved snowboarding and playing basketball. He was best friends with Attfield.
Lloydminster Mayor Jeff Mulligan said Saturday was a dark day for the community.
"It's a tough day but it's one of those things," he said. "We all should today reach out and hug our kids and grandkids."