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'Waking up to a really bad dream': Manitoba communities mourn four teenagers killed in crash

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Multiple Manitoba communities are in mourning following the deaths of four teenagers in a car crash involving a semi-truck on Wednesday.

The crash took place at around 10:50 p.m., with RCMP saying a car with five teenagers was heading north near Gilbert Plains on Provincial Road 274 when it hit the trailer of a semi heading east on Highway 5.

An 18-year-old male and two 17-year-old males – all from Dauphin- were killed. An 18-year-old girl from Carberry died from her injuries in hospital, while a 15-year-old girl from the RM of Dauphin remains in hospital with serious injuries.

Le Rouxan (know as Lennie or LR) Neumann was one of the passengers in the car. He turned 17 on February 28 and had been in Canada for less than a year with his family.

His parents, Jolien and Jaco Neumann, say in a message he was “one awesome amazing kid who made such a huge positive impact in so many people's lives in his short life.”

17-year-old La Rouxan (know as Lennie or LR) Neumann was a passenger killed in the car crash. (Source: Jolien Neumann)

They arrived in Dauphin in April from Montana, and South Africa before that.

“His teachers and kids from school in the community will also confirm that he was a great kid.  It's really a very big loss for our family but it is easy to remember all the good he did because he never caused problems but only solutions.”

Lennie’s friends in Medicine Lake, Montana are honouring him at their prom in April, crowning him King.

His parents say, depending on funeral arrangements, they hope to be at that prom. They say Lennie had been in prom court in Grade 9 and last year in Grade 10.

“It’s just been a shock to everyone involved,” said Stephen Jaddock, superintendent/CEO of Mountain View School Division, where three of the teenagers killed in the crash attended school.

Two of the victims were students at Gilbert Plains Collegiate, while another was a student at Dauphin Regional Comprehensive Secondary School (DRCSS). The student currently hospitalized also attended DRCSS.

Crisis counsellors are at the two schools, Jaddock said, to help students process their emotions.

“It’s like waking up to a really bad dream, and realizing that this is reality, and we need to move forward and we need to move on, and what we can do,” Jaddock said.

“And I think that is the attitude that has been brought forward, just making sure we can be a presence in both of our communities.”

James Manchur, the Reeve of Gilbert Plains, said the entire community is saddened by the deaths.

“There’s going to be a period of mourning and grieving for sure, and reflection on those who were impacted,” he said Thursday night. “Time will tell and time will heal, I suppose, but it’s going to be a tough few weeks, if not longer, for not only the victims, the families and the community, but the first responders who had to come on scene last night.”

The crash remains under investigation by RCMP.

The Dauphin Kings held a minute of silence at their Friday night hockey game in Dauphin for the teens.  They invited the Roblin Raiders High School Hockey Team to the game. Riley Robak, who died in the crash, was a member of this team.

"Last night, in a tragic accident, the Roblin Grand Plains Raiders lost one of their own. Riley Robak was an incredible athlete, an amazing friend, and an absolute gem of a human being and will be missed dearly," the team said in a Facebook post. 

“Our thoughts and prayers are with you all at this incredibly difficult time.”

-With files from CTV’s Taylor Brock.

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