The North Delta man killed in a single-vehicle accident in Richmond on Tuesday (Dec. 19) has been identified as Raji Kaila, a husband and father of two young children.
Kaila, 37, was a passenger in a 2006 Acura sedan that collided with a hydro pole near River Road and No. 8 Road around 11:30 a.m. that day.
The car was partially submerged in a ditch when RCMP arrived. The driver of the vehicle, a 45-year-old fellow Delta resident, was able to escape from the car and help pull the passenger from the vehicle with the help of some Good Samaritans.
Kuljeet Kaila, a local TV and radio broadcaster, said her late relative was “a happy-go-lucky guy, just an instant joy in the room for the family.
“The guy just never had a bad day,” she said on behalf of the family.
“It’s devastating,” Kuljeet added, “because he has a couple little kids – an eight-year-old daughter and a five-year-old boy, and he leaves behind his wife (Sarb), and his parents and his sister, who got married not even a month ago.”
A cab driver by trade, Raji Kaila was travelling in Richmond on his way to pick up car parts, around the time snow began to fall in Metro Vancouver.
“That stretch of road is pretty notorious,” Kuljeet said, “and apparently they’ve been trying to get speedbumps put on it for quite awhile.
“The last time I spoke to him (Raji) was not so long ago, just a few days ago, just to remind him about having winter tires and that snow was coming. I told him to call me if he was stuck downtown or something, and he was like, ‘yeah, yeah, you worry too much.’ And I said, ‘I report on traffic for god sake.’”
Raji, along with his friend driving the vehicle, were taken to hospital after the crash.
“(Raji) was responsive, and then a few hours later, he just… went his own way. He passed on,” Kuljeet said.
Raji Kaila grew up in East Vancouver and moved to the North Delta area about 10 years ago.
Sandeep Parhar, a friend of his for about two decades, remembers Kaila as an athlete who was always full of energy and positive vibes.
Kaila played both ball hockey and ice hockey, and was also a high-level flag football player, Parhar said.
“He’s always been a great athlete in various sports,” Parhar said of the John Oliver Secondary grad.
“He was one of those guys with a lot of energy, always brightened up the room, you know, always a huge smile on his face, and just truly a genuine, good person,” Parhar added.
“Everybody on the team would turn to him with some news because they knew he genuinely cared, you know. He was the heart and soul of our team, just that guy. He’d do the cheers before the game, was the loudest on the bench. It’s just such a loss. He had this energy about him that’s going to be missed, that’s for sure.”
Kaila was also into bhangra music and dance.
“(He) was on a dance team growing up,” Kuljeet Kaila recalled. “He was pretty active, and he and I were just joking that we should start a fitness class, a bhanga fitness class, and he could teach it.”
Alcohol and drugs are not considered to be factors in the accident. Road conditions are considered to be factor.
The Richmond RCMP Road Safety Unit (RSU) is investigating the incident.
If anyone has information or dashcam footage on this incident, contact Constable George of the Richmond RCMP Road Safety Unit at 604-278-1212.
with file from Grace Kennedy/Black Press