UPDATE: 16-year-old girl dies in Maple Ridge crash

Two males, both 18, taken to hospital, including the driver.

A 16-year-old girl died in a crash early Tuesday that sent two others to hospital, including the driver, confirmed Ridge Meadows RCMP.

According to police, the crash involved a single vehicle and occurred in the 13000-block of 248th street around 1:15 a.m. Police said a dark colored Volkswagen hatchback had been travelling north when it had left the road and went down an embankment.

“The male driver was extracted from the crash site and sent to hospital in serious condition,” RCMP said.

“A male passenger was extracted from the crash site and sent to hospital in critical condition. Both men are Maple Ridge residents and 18 years of age. Sadly, a 16-year-old female passenger died at the scene.”

Police said the investigation is still in the early stages and that traffic investigators are putting together what happened.

“Tragically our community has lost a young girl and our sincerest condolences go out to her family and friends,” said Insp. Aaron Paradis

A friend at the scene later Tuesday identified the deceased as Annalise Gardner, an aspiring actor and a student at Garibaldi secondary, entering Grade 11.

“She was always just the sweetest girl you could ever imagine. She had a big smile on her face. She had so many goals and aspirations. She has always wanted to make other people happy and she was just like the best friend you could ever have,” Amber Johnson-Belanger said of Gardener.

fatalGardener wrote on her Facebook page that she appeared in the film Poignant.

“I’m so glad to be apart of the cast of Poignant, this is the official trailer. The movie will be released Canada wide this fall! Make sure to check out the trailer and the Facebook page Poignant,” she wrote on July 7, 2016.

Maple Ridge fire chief Howard Exner said crews responded to the scene at about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday after the vehicle went down an embankment about 10 metres.

It’s not known which direction the vehicle was moving.

“The car was off the road and down an embankment,” said Exner.

The situation required firefighters to use over-the-bank rescue techniques to rescue the two people who survived the accident and recover the body of the person who died.

It’s a windy stretch of road in that area, said Greta Borick-Cunningham, who works at the River Heritage Centre, just north of the accident scene.

“You’ve just got to take your time doing down or up. You have to take it slow for sure.”

It’s the first accident she’s seen there after working in the area for six years.

Cam Nilson lives beside the bend in the road on 248th Street. At about 1 a.m. Tuesday, he woke to the sound of a tire screeching, a slide and the sound of a thunk.

“It was so steep and so dark you couldn’t even get down there, and the prickles, and it’s a really steep drop off there,” said Nilson.

“As soon as we were out there, the paramedics and the fire truck arrived and they pretty much took over the scene.”

The road curves near the embankment, and Nilson said vehicles often travel too fast along that stretch. He would like barricades along the shoulder of the road.

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