This story originally appeared in the Vaughan Citizen.
It took only a moment for the lives of the Seixeiro family to be changed forever.
The community of Maple is mourning the loss of seventeen-year-old Steven Seixeiro after he was struck and killed Jan. 12 by a truck while crossing a green light on his way to St. Joan of Arc high school.
Steven had just got off an eastbound Rutherford Road bus when he was struck crossing Keele Street to take the northbound bus to school.
Police say the investigation is still under way and it is too early to determine the exact cause of the accident.
The fatality marks the third Vaughan teenager to be killed on city streets in less than a year.
Catherine Tran, 16, was hit and killed by a bus in mid-November, and Rose Mandarino was struck and killed by an SUV last February.
It’s unlikely that Jennifer Seixeiro will ever forget the phone call informing her that her brother had passed.
“I can’t even put into words how I felt,” she said. “I was in shock … he was such a beautiful person.”
Family members describe Steven as a bright, tech-savvy teenager who enjoyed YouTube and Twitter.
They say he was a social person, but also very dedicated to his studies.
“He was passionate about getting good marks,” Ms Seixeiro said. “He didn’t know exactly what he wanted to do, but he was leaning towards computer engineering. He was still young and trying to figure things out.”
Ms Seixeiro said one of Steven’s teachers sent him a certificate of excellence for his grades just a few weeks ago. She went on to describe him as the ideal brother.
“He would want to be remembered as a really good friend. He was a really good brother and he knew it,” she said.
Comments from friends of Steven echoed these remarks.
“He was a beautiful boy with a warm heart and a sweet soul,” said Mark Johnathen Martin, one of Steven’s close friends. “My heart aches and I’m still in shock and disbelief.”
The string of teenage pedestrian fatalities resulting from accidents has left some such as Concord/Thornhill Councillor Sandra Yeung Racco concerned. She noted that traffic has always been a city-wide issue, but feels the main problem is thoughtless drivers.
“The bigger issue here is the drivers. They’re not as attentive as they used to be,” Ms Yeung Racco said. “They tend to speed, ignore signs, they’re not as careful. We need to get back to the basics and say, ‘Hey drivers, we need to slow down’.”
She feels that due to hectic schedules, people are too preoccupied with thoughts while driving.
Ms Yeung Racco said that despite the city trying to introduce measures such as crosswalks, stop signs and slower speed limits in school zones, they will have little effect if drivers do not heed them.
“If people are ignoring them, it doesn’t matter if you have 20 million signs, they’re not going to do anything,” she said.
Ms Yeung Racco said the province needs to introduce stricter road enforcement, noting that drivers always pay attention when there is a nearby police presence.
Regional Councillor Gino Rosati agreed that the onus is on the driver to keep the roads safe.
“A greater awareness is needed on the driver’s part, or else unfortunate accidents like this will continue,” he said. “I don’t have any words to describe how awful this is.”
The Seixeiro family is hoping Steven’s death will make drivers pay more attention on the road.
Steven’s father, Celso Seixeiro, will remember him as someone who was kind-hearted, friendly, and easy to get along with.
“He was a good boy, he had no enemies, only friends,” he said. “He was too young for this.”
Witnesses are encouraged to contact the York Region Police collision reconstruction unit at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 7704.