Haley Marin, who was among six young people killed in a south-end Barrie crash on the weekend, is being remembered as a young woman whose compassion led to her working at a local seniors' home where she "loved her residents and they loved her."
Online tributes and condolences continue to pour in following the deadly wreck at a local construction site, which left family and friends grieving in the wake of the tragic incident.
Luke West, Jersey Mitchell, River Wells, Curtis King, Jason Ono-O’Connor and Marin all perished in the crash, however many questions remain around what happened as the Barrie police investigation continues.
Karen Ross said she and Marin were close friends and attended the same Keswick elementary school, briefly, before Marin moved to Barrie.
“She was in Grade 8, I was in 7, and we met through a mutual friend, but really didn't talk much," Ross said. "We started to talk virtually all the time and then we just kept going from there and became long-distance friends. As kids in school, it's hard to travel from Barrie to Keswick.”
As they got older, Ross said they would see each other more often and they remained close friends. Ross said she and Marin bonded over their love of people and their jobs as assistants to personal support workers (PSWs).
“She was at Mill Creek (Care Centre) and loved her residents and they loved her," Ross said. "Haley would always take it hard if one took a turn for the worst. I think she was there since at least January, so she was still seeing the COVID situation at the facility to an extent, with all the precautions.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up for her Marin's family to help with funeral expenses.
Co-worker Jenna Mumby left a donation and this comment: “I had the pleasure to work with Haley at Mill Creek for a short time. Her last day was a few week's ago. I am very grateful I gave her a hug, as I never thought in a million years she would be gone! I will forever keep her in my thoughts. She definitely made an impact on not just the residents, but myself! She will be dearly missed.”
Ross said Marin tried post-secondary education at both Georgian and Humber colleges, but that “wasn’t for her with all going on with the pandemic.”
“She was going to give it another shot and was leaning toward Humber in January, possibly for the community and justice services (program),” Ross said.
When asked what made her and Marin make a connection that would last long distance and carry on for many years, Ross laughed and then explained.
“We’re both quite odd. I think that drew us close,” Ross said. “She has always been a very approachable person and I just felt comfortable around her all these years. She called my mom 'mom'. It was that type of closeness.”
Ross says finding out about the deadly crash was as hard to take as one would imagine. She said she had been in contact with Marin on Saturday morning, but then didn't hear from her the rest of the day. Ross says she started to feel like something was wrong when she saw on social media that Luke West — whom they both knew and who Marin had told Ross she had bumped into Friday night — was missing.
“I saw that and realized she hadn’t been active on anything for a while, which is really odd," said Ross, who also said she received an strange text message at 5:40 a.m., which was "just a black screen."
What led to the crash remains unclear as the police investigation continues. It is believed the crash may have happened between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m., Saturday, although the car wasn't located until 2 a.m., Sunday by a local police officer.
"She and I have a Snapchat streak of 2,400 days — six and half years — so we talk constantly. But I saw Luke, River, Jason, and Curtis were all missing and even though she didn’t really hang out with them, I felt like something was wrong,” Ross said. “I just had a bad gut feeling.”
Waking up at around 5 a.m., Sunday, Ross said she heard that her friend was also now among the missing group, as well as Jersey Mitchell. Later that morning, Ross heard the news that all six people had died in the crash.
While grief and sadness has hit Ross and all those who knew the victims very hard, she said despite the young age of the victims and the friends they left behind, the gravity of the community loss is not lost on them. She said the ripple effect of their deaths has touched everyone in the community.
“Six young, well-loved, well-connected people in the community have been lost and it is probably going to be felt for a long time,” Ross said. “It's really bothering a lot of people our age.”