The card tucked into the white roses summarizes the way many people felt about Dakota Leslie: “I have never had a friend so supportive and trustworthy. You will never be forgotten, my brother.”
The note is part of a growing roadside memorial on the northeast corner of Marshall and McCallum roads, where bright flowers and heartfelt messages mark the area where Leslie was struck by a vehicle last Thursday night. The 19-year-old died in hospital a few hours later.
Tributes have been flooding social media ever since.
Leslie was a volunteer show host and DJ with The Generation Z Show on Abbotsford’s CiVL radio, which is based at the University of the Fraser Valley.
Leslie’s co-host Andy Lee said Leslie was “the greatest friend and show host I could ever ask for.
“From talking to him extensively on and off the air, he would have wanted all of us to forge ahead, no matter what happens. He taught me to have patience and compassion, for he lived by his heart while I lived by what my brain told me,” posted Lee, who left the station earlier last week to continue his studies on the East Coast.
CiVL station manager Aaron Levy told The News that Leslie was “one of the youngest and most enthusiastic volunteers at CiVL,” and the station is in shock over his passing.
“You can recruit to the ends of the world, but you can’t solicit, train or learn the kind of creativity, excitement and sense of community that Dakota is already being remembered and missed for,” Levy said.
Leslie, the youngest of four siblings, was a 2014 graduate of Abbotsford Senior Secondary. He was also a volunteer for the Excalibur Party, which had candidates running in Abbotsford and Mission in the 2013 provincial election.
A message posted online from the BC Excalibur party said Leslie was a “caring and compassionate individual” and a “bright and caring young man.”
“He lived by his conscience and the things he believed in,” the message stated.
Abbotsford Police Const. Ian MacDonald said the collision that killed Leslie is still under investigation.
The incident took place at about 9:40 p.m., when Leslie was struck by a Honda Accord that had been travelling west on Marshall Road and was making a right turn onto McCallum.
The 20-year-old driver remained on the scene and has co-operated with police, MacDonald said.
A longboard was found at the scene, near Leslie, but it has not yet been confirmed whether he was riding it at the time of the crash, whether he was using the crosswalk, and who had the right of way.
Leslie was last seen at a downtown Abbotsford business at 9:15 p.m. on Thursday, April 30, and police are asking for any witnesses that might have seen him from that time until the crash at 9:41 p.m.
MacDonald said police are also asking to hear from drivers/passengers who passed through the intersection of McCallum and Marshall roads at or just before the collision.
Any witnesses to the collision who have not yet spoken with police are asked to contact the Abbotsford Police Department at 604-859-5225 or text abbypd (222973).
Meanwhile, a friend of the Leslie family has set up a fundraising page on the GoFundMe website to raise money for Leslie’s funeral.
The page explains that the family has endured several losses in the last eight months – including the deaths of Leslie’s uncle and grandmother – and has also faced some financial burdens.
“This fund will help make it possible to give Dakota the memorial he deserves,” the page states, adding that the money will also help with the remaining costs from the losses of the other family members.
The page can be found at www.gofundme.com/t2jrwbs.
A celebration of life for Leslie has been scheduled for Saturday, May 16 at 2 p.m. at Valley View Funeral Home and Cemetery, 14644 72 Ave. in Surrey.