In the days after a fatal accident in the Cowan Heights area of St. John’s that killed young mother Alyssa Power and sent three teenagers to hospital, Power is remembered as a caring mother and friend.
Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC) said the 19-year-old passenger was pronounced dead at the scene of a two-vehicle collision at the intersection of Hamlyn Road and Canada Drive Friday night at 10:30 p.m. The accident is under investigation.
Power has a one-month old daughter, and according to Power’s friend, 22-year-old Ash Hollahan, Power lost her own mother at a young age.
“It’s really hard knowing that the child is going to have to grow up feeling the exact same way that Alyssa did. I know how bad she felt growing up without her mom.”
Hollahan described Power as an “amazing mother” and “the most down-to-earth person you could ever meet,” but said Power struggled growing up without her mother.
“With her mom passing away, her life wasn’t really as planned … She just really found it hard growing up without a mom, and seeing everybody else with their moms. So, knowing that this thing is going to happen to (her daughter) Alexis, oh, it’s just really hurting.”
Alexis' grandmother, Carol Tuttle, said she was babysitting Alexis at the time of the crash.
"Alyssa messaged me at 9:42 p.m. asking how her princess was, and to give her a kiss for her and tell her she loved her," said Tuttle. "Her daughter was her world."
Hollahan started a GoFundMe page to help Power’s aunt.
“That’s who raised Alyssa growing up …her father’s sister. She is the best woman ever that Alyssa could ask for to come into her life. It’s a really good opportunity to try to give back to her for everything she has done for Alyssa and what she needs to do for Alexis now.”
"With her mom passing away, her life wasn’t really as planned … She just really found it hard growing up without a mom, and seeing everybody else with their moms. So, knowing that this thing is going to happen to (her daughter) Alexis, oh, it’s just really hurting.”
Friend Ash Hollahan
As of deadline the GoFundMe page had raised more than $300.
Donations of baby items, such as diapers and wipes, are also being accepted in a fundraiser organized by another one of Power’s friends.
Chantelle Owens is organizing various fundraisers amongst her circle of friends and family to help Alexis, but said anyone who would like to donate baby items of any sort can drop them off at 75 Froude Ave. Tuttle said she will also accept any donations for Alexis at 23 Eagle Court.
“She was just trying to start her life, and she was a really good mom," said Owens. "She was trying to get on her feet, and then this happened."
Owens described Power as “very outgoing” and “funny”.
“She could always make you smile. You couldn’t feel down around her whatsoever.”
Hollahan added that Power loved music and would make videos of herself singing along to music.
“That’s what we’ve all been sharing all over Facebook to remember her, is her singing to her music,” said Hollahan. “And if anybody was ever down, she’d be there to help you, no matter what she was doing.”
Hollahan and Owens both said they hope to help Power’s family, especially her infant daughter, the same way that Power always tried to help others during her short life.
People can donate to the GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/donations-for-alyssa-powers-family.
Crash under investigation
RNC said moments before the crash, a patrol officer travelling south on Hamlyn Road attempted to stop the Honda Accord, also headed south, in which Power was a passenger.
Police said the 17-year-old female driver did not stop for the traffic safety stop and, according to RNC Chief Joe Boland, "within seconds" collided with a west bound SUV travelling on Canada Drive.
There were four people in the Accord: the 17-year-old female driver, two teenaged boys, and Power. The driver is in hospital with serious injuries and the two male passengers received non-life-threatening injuries.
Police cannot release the name of the driver because she is a minor.
The driver and lone occupant of the SUV sustained minor injuries.
In a news conference late Saturday afternoon, Boland said alcohol or drugs are not believed to be a factor in the accident and no charges have been laid, however the investigation is ongoing.
It was snowing at the time of the accident, and Boland said road conditions will be a part of the investigation.
The Nova Scotia Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT) was called in to do an independent investigation. SIRT investigators were expected to arrive in St. John's Saturday evening.
"I would like to also make it clear by me requesting SIRT to investigate this matter because it's serious in nature, and not because I believe there was wrongdoing by the officer," said Boland. "Independent police oversight is important for all parties involved, including the police officer."
RNC is asking anyone who witnessed the collision or any residents of Hamlyn Road who may have home security cameras that captured the moments leading up to the collision to call RNC accident investigators at 729-8000.
With files from Keith Gosse