An Erskine family is in mourning after an early-morning accident on Saturday, June 7, claimed the life of 18-year-old Andrew Nibourg.
Nibourg, who only the weekend before graduated from William E. Hay Composite High School, was ejected from the driver-side window of his truck during a collision with a flat-bed transport truck. He was pronounced dead at the scene by EMS due to injuries sustained in the collision.
Drugs and alcohol were not involved in the collision, but Stettler RCMP cited speed and a lack of seat belt as causative factors in Nibourg’s death.
“We have truly lost a very great young man,” James Nibourg, Andrew’s father and a councillor for the County of Stettler, said in a released statement. “Our Andrew has touched so many hearts in his short time on earth. We would like to thank everybody for the overwhelming support and please keep us in your prayers.”
A number of Nibourg’s graduating classmates weren’t in school on Monday as they gathered elsewhere to grieve and remember their friend together, William E. Hay Composite High School principal Norbert Baharally said, though, he noted, he would rather have them in school as there is a crisis intervention team at the school which can offer students emotional support.
Baharally said the school day on Monday was “going as well as could be expected,” but admitted that both students and staff were grieving and that the atmosphere in the school was grim.
“Andrew was a great young man,” Baharally said. “He was involved in band, and very heavily in our vocational programs.”
He said Nibourg enjoyed cooking, and a great deal of his vocational training was in the kitchen. That passion for food also worked its way into Nibourg’s volunteer work, which involved helping with a catering program.
Nibourg’s death is really impacting the students at William E. Hay who came to the high school from Erskine, Baharally said, noting that the large class of about 15 students from the school are a “tightknit group of kids.”
Baharally praised Nibourg as the sort of student who would give the shirt off his back and put others before himself, which is one of the reasons staff – even those who never taught Nibourg – are suffering such sadness at his passing.
Clearview Schools’ crisis intervention team has set up at the school and counsellors are available to help students and staff for this week and longer, if necessary, Baharally said.
“We expect that some (students) will seek out this help, while others may not,” Baharally said in a written statement, made available on the school’s website. “Students will have varied reactions to the death and loss of a peer. A wide range of reactions is normal…and can vary from withdrawal, to crying and anger.”
The school encourages parents to speak openly with their children about the tragedy and has prepared information for parents who need help in helping their son or daughter cope with Nibourg’s passing. Parents can phone the school for the information.
The driver of the other vehicle, a 51-year-old Delburne man, received no injuries.