KELOWNA — Cheerful, humble, amazing, inspiring.
Those are some of the descriptions that mourners are posting to social media for the young man who died in the Highway 97 collision near UBCO in Kelowna on Friday morning.
The victim has been identified as Derek Flowers-Johnson, 18.
“Yesterday we lost a member of our Rider Ventures family,” wrote Rider Ventures Wildfire and Flood Protection of Coldstream, B.C. on its Facebook page.
“Derek Flowers-Johnson was humble, driven, determined, and inspiring. We will miss Derek’s ability to make us laugh, big smile and even bigger heart.”
The company said staff are deeply affected by his untimely passing.
“We offer support, comfort and deepest condolences to his family. We are proud to call Derek one of our own and he will never be forgotten.”
Flowers-Johnson was an active member of the Lake Country community. Hailing from Oyama, he participated in civic affairs as a youth councillor with Lake Country City Council while completing his Grade 12 year at George Elliot Secondary School. He was also a participant of the municipality’s youth firefighting training program.
James Baker, the mayor of Lake Country, said Flowers-Johnson went into trades training at Okanagan College following graduation.
“He was keen to be a welder, I met him last fall at Okanagan College,” he said on Sunday.
A GoFundMe page has raised $14,000 in 24 hours for the family of Flowers-Johnson.
Baker said the young man’s family owns and operates the Cattlemen’s Club Restaurant at the Historic O’Keefe Ranch in Vernon, B.C.
The restaurant’s answering machine says it is closed due to “unforeseen circumstances.” It directed customers to another phone number and a woman who answered said she wants the public to know “what a sweet boy he was.”
The accident took place at approximately 6:30 a.m. on Friday near the UBCO overpass. Police say the vehicle collided with a semi-trailer commercial vehicle.
The cause of the collision is under investigation. The roads were slippery as there had been a light snowfall.
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