Ottawa

Family and friends mourn Simon Khouri after fatal Orléans collision

The 13-year-old who was struck and killed by a vehicle as he biked along Jeanne d'Arc Boulevard was smart, loving and artistic, according to those who knew him.

13-year-old remembered as smart and artistic

Simon Khouri was killed while biking in east Ottawa July 23, 2019. (Supplied)

Family friends are mourning the death of a 13-year-old who was struck by a vehicle as he biked along Jeanne d'Arc Boulevard in Orléans.

Simon Khouri was riding his bicycle near the westbound on-ramp to Highway 174 around 5:30 p.m. when the collision occurred.

Issa Hamati, a family friend of the Khouris, described Simon's death as an "earthquake" that shook the family and the community to their core.

"The effect of losing Simon … on the family will be huge. I can tell you their life has changed forever," he said.

'Something shakes you from the bottom of your heart'

3 years ago
Duration 1:04
Issa Hamati, who has known the Khouri family for over two decades, says losing Simon has been like an "earthquake" to the community.

Hamati said he's known Khouri's parents since they arrived in Canada from Syria in the mid-1990s. He said on the night of the crash he saw Simon's 10-year-old brother Alex trying to console his parents.

"You're powerless. You cannot do much. Just hugs," Hamati said.

A ghost bike went up late July 25 or early July 26 to honour Simon Khouri, who was fatally injured while biking on Jeanne d'Arc Boulevard earlier that week. (Christian Milette/Radio-Canada)

Hamati said Khouri was smart, loved drawing and playing video games. The teen was also protective of his bike, keeping it clean and always locking it up.

Hamati said Khouri was biking to meet a friend visiting from Vancouver and go to the pool the evening of the fatal crash.

"All of a sudden, he's not there," he said. 

"I would like to remember the funny things he used to do. The love, the care he used to give his younger brother. I would like to have the sweet memory of Simon, rather than the grief."

Hamati said the family is grappling with how and why it happened. He said they would like the intersection to be safer.

The ramp from Jeanne d'Arc to the westbound Highway 174 was closed after the crash. (Reno Patry/CBC)

"We're hoping to see a change. It's so ridiculous to allow this kind of accident to happen," he said.

Khouri's funeral will take place Saturday at Saint Paul Syriac Catholic Church.

Fadi Atallah, a priest at the church, was with the family the night of collision.

"It's a tragedy. It's a catastrophe," Attalah said in a French-language interview.

Fadi Atallah, a priest at Saint Paul Syriac Catholic Church, said members of the community joined the family in prayer at the hospital the night of the tragic collision. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

He said members of the community joined hands in prayer in the hospital and will continue to offer support to the family.

CBC News reached the driver involved in the crash by phone on Thursday, who declined to comment.

Ottawa police continue to investigate and no charges have been laid. 

With files from Gabrielle Fahmy

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