Tragedy struck twice this past weekend as Barrhead mourns the death of two teenagers.
The body of 18-year-old Vince Frigon was found Sunday near the community of Bloomsbury in a partially thawed lake approximately 300 metres from its shore. The incident is still under investigation by the RCMP, but foul play is not suspected. An autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death. Cpl. Darryll Lutz of the Barrhead RCMP detachment said witnesses stated Frigon had been consuming alcohol, but the RCMP doesn’t know to what quantity.
Frigon was reported missing after walking away from a residence located about eight kilometres north of Barrhead. He was last seen at approximately 2:30 a.m. on April 29 after talking with several of his friends.
The local Klondike Search and Rescue, along with two other search and rescue organizations, were involved in the search, which was aided by numerous local residents and the RCMP. Search efforts included air services. The search began April 29 and continued on April 30 until the body was located at approximately 1 p.m.
More than 100 people that included the public joined in the search.
“There were a lot of locals looking,” he said. “(The search) was very organized and very professional, and you could really see the dedication of the people. Volunteers are never difficult to find in this community. They were all focused on the job, and very precise in leaving no stone unturned.”
Cpl. Lutz said he knew Frigon from his involvement as a player and a referee with the minor hockey association.
“He seemed like a great kid from what I’ve seen,” Lutz said. “I didn’t know him very well, but my son played hockey, and I had talked to him a few times. It’s their services to their community by which you remember people, and it was nice to see a young fellow like him giving his time to referee hockey for younger players.”
Frigon was employed for just under a year at The Brick in Barrhead. Owner and manager James Lawlor and sales associate April Campbell said Frigon’s absence at the store could be felt like a ton of bricks.
“He was such a good kid,” Campbell said. “He was a hard worker, and he always showed up to work with a smile on his face. We had a lot of fun together; we all joked around, and it was a really good atmosphere.
“(His death) is devastating,” she said. “He was such a promising individual, and it’s just heartbreaking. We don’t really even want to go in the warehouse, because that’s where he worked and his work shirt is still there. We look around, and we’re reminded of him everywhere. He built the barbecues, the appliances, and many other things on display at the store. We definitely send our condolences to the family. I talked to Vince’s mom, and I can’t imagine just what she is going through.”
In a completely separate event, 15-year-old Cody Callihoo succumbed to the injuries he received on April 30 when the all-terrain vehicle he was driving collided with a tractor-trailer.
The collision happened at about 5 p.m. on Highway 18 near Campsie Store, approximately 15 km west of Barrhead. An investigation by the RCMP has determined that Callihoo attempted to cross the highway northbound in front of the westbound tractor-trailer.
Callihoo was airlifted via STARS to University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton, where he remained in critical condition until his death. He had been wearing his helmet at the time of the collision, and alcohol was not a factor. There were two other youth operating off-highway vehicles at the same time as Callihoo, but they were not involved in the collision.
Witnesses at the scene of the collision said they watched the entire incident. They said it seemed like Callihoo and the driver of the tractor-trailer appeared to signal to one another, but that Callihoo attempted to cross and didn’t make it.
The investigation is continuing.
Again, Cpl. Lutz said he was familiar with the Callihoo family through his dealings with the minor hockey association.
“They’re really good people,” he said, and added perhaps the only silver lining in this otherwise dark cloud is the fact Callihoo knew enough to wear his helmet while out on his ATV.