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Families and friends cling to hope for young man in coma and motherless child in aftermath of Malahat crash

Oct 18 2012
J.R. Corpuz, 18, survived the Oct. 13 Malahat crash but is in critical condition in a coma. 

J.R. Corpuz, 18, survived the Oct. 13 Malahat crash but is in critical condition in a coma.

Photograph by: Handout , Times Colonist

As an 18-year-old man in a deadly weekend car crash clings to life in a coma, friends and family are caught between praying for his recovery and grieving his girlfriend’s death.

J.R. Corpuz and Kloie Jamisola, 16, were found entangled on the roadside Sunday after the two were ejected from the back seat of a Honda CRV in a two-vehicle crash that claimed the lives of three people and injured five.

The collision occurred when the Honda lost control while heading south on the wet highway near Whittaker Road at 11:25 a.m. Sunday and skidded into a northbound GMC pickup.

The dead are Pheap (Sophie) Top, 28, Diane Muriel Lacasca Bocacao, 19, and Jamisola. On Wednesday, family members corrected some of the ages and spellings released by authorities in recent days.

Corpuz and Sarina Top, 6, whose mother died behind the wheel, survived the crash.

All three of the dead were from Nanaimo and worked at a Tim Hortons restaurant. Corpuz also worked at another Tim Hortons location. All are connected through the international Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ) and extended family.

It’s been an emotional roller-coaster as family and friends hold vigil by Corpuz’s bedside and plan a memorial for Kloie, Diane and Sophie.

The injured man’s parents, two brothers and sister take turns by his side, said Jayvee Corpuz, his sister-in-law. The Woodland’s Secondary graduate suffered severe head trauma and is in a medically induced coma, but is getting a bit better every day, she added.

“We’re all here for him and watch over him and talk to him and we’re being together as a family — that’s helping us cope,” Jayvee said.

Meanwhile, Wellington Secondary School principal Steve Thompson said students were informed about Kloie’s death on Wednesday.

Kloie, who was from the Philippines, started at Wellington in 2011. “We know Kloie as a very diligent student, hardworking … and very quiet but very involved,” Thompson said.

The school has set up a memorial near the entrance of the school and left a book where students and staff can write down their memories of her. That book will be given to the family.

Family friend Randy Alvarez has set up an online account in the Corpuz family name to help the immediate families of the dead and injured.

“It’s initiated to help alleviate the financial burdens associated with the funeral costs for the immediate families,” Alvarez said.

Funds are also being raised by Chemainus resident Myles Vaux, 30, who stopped with his girlfriend at the scene immediately after the crash. Vaux heard Sarina’s cries, and helped Malahat volunteer fire chief Rob Patterson release her from a seatbelt in the severed back half of the Honda.

“I picked her up and walked her to a place where she was unable to see anything,” Vaux wrote online at indiegogo.com/sarinatop, where he is raising money for her care and education.

Vaux said he stayed with Sarina for about an hour while first responders took care of the other people in the crash.

A funeral service for Top, Bocacao and Kloie will be held at Sands Funeral Home from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. There will also be a viewing from 4-7 p.m. Friday and from 9-11 a.m. Saturday.

Donations to help cover the costs of funeral services for all three women can be dropped off at the Tim Hortons Rock City location at 2980 Island Highway North or online at gofundme.com/Malahat-Tragedy-Oct14.

To donate to Sarina's education and care go to: http://www.indiegogo.com/sarinatop


— With  Nanaimo Daily News

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