Road rage claimed Jason Edmonds; Beal award keeps alive his memory
23-year-old man and two other young men died in 2000 crash on Wonderland Road
It's been 17 years since 23-year-old Jason Edmonds died in a road rage crash but an award issued each year to a Beal Secondary student in his name ensures his memory is kept alive.
Edmonds, along with his friends Shaun Lodge and Stewart Farnum (both 21) died in the crash on Wonderland Road in January 2000.
Prior to the crash, the driver of the car Edmonds was riding in became involved in a dispute with another driver.
The crash shows how so-called road-rage incidents can quickly escalate, often with deadly results.
Jason's mother Denise Pelley spoke to CBC News on Thursday and said the crash took away a well-liked young man who was an outstanding athlete on the basketball court and an aspiring actor.
"Unfortunately he didn't get a chance to really show what he was going to do with acting and really shine with it," said Pelley, a well known singer in London.
Each year Pelley returns to Beal to help hand out a $3,000 award to a student who exemplifies the qualities of her son.
"I'm overwhelmed and humbled that [the award] is continuing," she said. "Because it keeps Jason's name in the forefront."
Pelley also hopes the award keeps in the forefront — particularly for young people — the dangers of road rage.
London Police Const. Kimberly Flett agrees and said young drivers with less experience sometimes have to work harder to avoid road distractions and keep their focus on safety.
"You need to realize there's other people in your vehicle and other drivers on the road and that if you drive unsafely, you're putting other lives at risk, not just your own," she said.
The Jason Edmonds Memorial Award includes $3,000 for the recipient to continue their studies. This is the sixth year the award has been sponsored by CultureWorks, a London school that helps overseas post-secondary students learn English.
The award also includes a $750 cheque to support the Jason Edmonds League, a Beal basketball program for underprivileged youth.
This year's winner
Last night Tyler Green was named this year's recipient. Green was an honour-roll student at Beal who played basketball, rugby and soccer.
In his last year at Beal, he received the Ted Early Award for combining his basketball ability with his grades and community service.