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‘There are no words’: Memorial for boy killed in St. Thomas crash grows

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A makeshift memorial for an 11-year-old boy killed in St. Thomas Tuesday is growing.

Flowers, cards, and notes surround a picture of Aiden Curtis.

Further down, balloons flew to mark his 12th birthday, which would have been this coming Monday, July 10.

But instead of a celebration, his family, friends, and the greater community must say goodbye.

“Really, there are no words. I feel so bad for the family,” stated Sam Brown, whose son attended school with Aiden.

At 5 p.m. Tuesday, police said a westbound pickup on Talbot Street jumped a curb and crashed into the boy and four other people. Aiden had just left a restaurant when he was struck in front of the Brunswick Hotel.

He died at the scene. Another person was critically hurt.

A makeshift memorial, seen on July 6, 2023, has been set up in honour of 11-year-old Aiden Curtis, who was killed by an alleged drunk driver in St. Thomas on July 4, 2023. (Sean Irvine/CTV News London)

The driver, 19-year-old Nicholas Lemke, faces a charge of impaired driving causing death, impaired operation causing bodily harm, and operation while impaired.

In response, many expressed Aiden’s death could have been prevented.

Still, for now, they are focused on supporting his family.

Jaydon Seifried left a candle at the memorial Thursday. He recognized Aiden from his neighbourhood.

“I didn’t personally know him, but he’d always say ‘Hi’ to me, and the other neighbours, and then this tragedy happens,” said Seifried.

The memorial is just one way the community is responding to the words of Aiden’s father, Chad, who spoke through tears with CTV London on Wednesday.

“I’d like to say thank you to them too like there are so many people, and I’d like to say thank you to all of them for supporting us,” he said.

An online fundraiser for the family has already surpassed its initial goal. More support is welcome.

Meanwhile, businesses near the crash scene have taken up collections for the family.

Sub Zero, an ice cream and drink store in St. Thomas, is collecting donations for the Curtis family. Aiden Curtis, an 11-year-old boy, was killed by an alleged drunk driver in St. Thomas on July 4, 2023. (Sean Irvine/CTV News London)

Heather Payne owns Sub Zero, an ice cream and drink store directly across from the memorial.

She said customers have already donated several hundred dollars.

Working with her teenage son Thursday evening, she stated Aiden’s loss hits home.

“I’ve been holding my son as tight as I can, and I have another one at home very close to Aiden’s age,” said Payne.

Sam Brown is doing the same. But he is struggling to explain to the 11-year-old why his school chum died.

“You can’t really quantify that to an 11-year-old,” he said.

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