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Island teen, girlfriend critically injured in Lower Mainland crash

Youths were thrown from motorcycle in collision with SUV in Maple Ridge
Sarah Mingo and her boyfriend Max Mnguni have a long road to recovery after being seriously injured in a crash involving the motorcycle they were riding and an SUV in Maple Ridge on Friday, Sept. 8. (Special to The News)

A young couple has a long road of rehabilitation in front of them after a motorcycle crash on the Lower Mainland last week.

Sarah Mingo, 18, and her boyfriend Max Mnguni were travelling along 240th Street in Maple Ridge just after 1 p.m. on Sept. 8 when a crash took place between their motorcycle and an SUV.

Both teens were thrown from the bike. B.C. Emergency Health Services, including advanced life support, attended the scene, transporting Sarah by air ambulance in critical condition to Royal Columbian Hospital, while Max arrived by ground ambulance also with critical injuries.

The girl remains unconscious and sedated at Royal Columbian. She is also not breathing entirely on her own yet, said her mother, Dione Mingo.

“They let her trigger the ventilator, between that and just having it fully work for her,” explained her mother.

Doctors have been trying to wake Sarah up, said mom, by taking her off the sedatives, but then she starts moving because of the pain and doctors have to give her more medication. Sarah can move her legs and sometimes moves her left hand. An MRI showed several severed blood vessels in her brain, which is likely why she is not waking up, said Dione.

Sarah had a significant injury on her right bicep where doctors performed surgery to repair the muscle. Dione was also told her daughter might have three more surgeries for this injury.

On the same side of her body Sarah also has a broken scapula (shoulder blade), which doctors still have to figure out how to stabilize, mom said. Three bones were broken in her left hand, which will also require surgery with pins or screws.

“And then again she will have her arm at a 90-degree angle and she won’t be able to move it for six weeks,” noted Dione.

Sarah also has a collapsed lung and pneumonia.

Dione said she has been at the hospital all day, every day since the accident, but she herself often feels dizzy and nauseous. However, she added, she has a team of supporters who are taking turns, around the clock, sitting with Sarah, 18, a graduate of Westview Secondary, so when she wakes up she will see a familiar face.

“We have an army,” she said.

Family friend, Alicia Cavalier, who is considered an auntie to Sarah, is trying to raise money for her mother Dione, who is a mother of six children.

“It’s been just devastating for all of us,” said Cavalier.

On the GoFundMe page, Cavalier said Sarah was ejected off the motorcycle and flew about 60 feet.

Cavalier is trying to raise $15,000 for the family.

“I have three children of my own and I can’t imagine having to worry about paying the bills and stuff when this is happening,” said Cavalier.

Two fundraisers have been started for Max, who, although conscious, is being treated for critical injuries at Royal Columbian.

One fundraiser was started by his sister Tazzy Mnguni to raise money for his mother Mariam Mnguni.

“Last week my 17-year-old brother was t-boned by an SUV and his body flew 100 feet,” the GoFundMe noted.

“He’s in critical condition. His neck is broken, his face is broken and his leg is broken above the knee and also below the knee. His chest and shoulder was torn open and the plastic surgeon sewed his chest and shoulder back together, but he will need skin grafting surgery. He might also have brain damage and need neck surgery as his neck is fractured at the skull joint,” she informed those who have donated and those who wish to donate to her fundraiser.

Max is from Nanaimo and only recently settled in Maple Ridge. However, his family is still on Vancouver Island, where his mother, who is on maternity leave, has been travelling from almost every morning for three hours to the hospital, Tazzy reported, to be with her son. This she is doing while taking care of her newborn baby, a three-year-old, a 7-year-old and a 14-year-old.

READ ALSO: Serious crash in Maple Ridge sends two to hospital

She is also paying for ferry travel expenses, in addition to gas, and other car-related expenses, Tazzy noted, adding that she is paying the full $100 fare one way, even though the hospital made a request on her mother’s behalf for a reduced rate.

“I know she doesn’t have $1,000 per week for ferry fare for the 12 weeks he’s expected to be there plus gas, etc. Max will also require long-term support emotionally and physically. If there’s any way you can help with her travel expenses so she can be by my brother’s side through all of this, without the added financial stress, it would be greatly appreciated,” wrote Tazzy online.

The family is trying to raise $12,000. Another GoFundMe for Max was set up by his mother’s landlord, Kat Precious, who is fundraising for $20,000.

“Max is a hard-working, smart kid with a very bright future ahead of him. He relocated to the mainland, most recently Maple Ridge, from Nanaimo and has a great job he loves and a home. We are raising funds in his name to help him along his road to recovery. He will not be able to work for quite some time and will need various supports both emotionally and physically,” she said online, noting that funds raised will either go directly to Max’s recovery or to his mother for travel expenses.

On Thursday, Sept. 14, Ridge Meadows RCMP put out an appeal for more witnesses to the collision.

General duty officers, the investigative support team, serious crimes unit and integrated collison analysis and reconstruction service also attended the scene of the collision, said Insp. Adam Gander with the Ridge Meadows detachment. Due to the severity of the injuries, he said, the SCU now has conduct of the investigation.

“Based on the investigation to date, police are seeking further witnesses that may have seen a black motorcycle with a driver and a passenger on it, travelling northbound on 240 Street,” said Gander.

RCMP noted that the driver of the SUV remained on scene and co-operated with police.

Anyone with information or dash cam video are being asked to contact the Ridge Meadows RCMP directly at 604-463-6251.

“This is currently an active and ongoing investigation and no further information is available at this time,” added Gander.

Dione is hoping to hold another fundraiser in about a month from now for both teens at The Reach in Maple Ridge and she is looking for donations for a silent auction. Anyone wishing to donate can contact Shawna at 604-773-6761.

Police shut down 240 Street in Maple Ridge by Kanaka Creek after a serious crash between a motorcycle and an SUV. (Neil Corbett/The News)

Colleen Flanagan

About the Author: Colleen Flanagan

I got my start with Black Press Media in 2003 as a photojournalist.
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