Accident fatalities remembered as great friends

Darrell Cole
Published on August 21, 2007

Tributes are flowing in for a pair of Amherst men killed in a motor-vehicle crash early Sunday on the Tyndal Road.

Tributes are flowing in for a pair of Amherst men killed in a motor-vehicle crash early Sunday on the Tyndal Road.

RCMP have identified 21-year-old Corey James Bates and 20-year-old Nicholas Frank Merrill as the victims of the early morning crash just outside Amherst. Police say neither were wearing seatbelts at the time of the single-vehicle accident and both were ejected from the vehicle after it left the road and rolled several times around 3:30 a.m. Sunday.

Friends have set up a support group on the popular social networking website Facebook and by early Monday there were several hundred members as well as numerous photos and comments in honour of the two victims.

"Brandon (LeBlanc) said he was going to set it up and I thought it was a great idea. Everyone is really in shock at what happened and we wanted to give everyone a chance to come together and express their memories of two great friends," Michael Archibald said.

Archibald was a teammate of Bates on several hockey and baseball teams and knew Merrill through sports and through school. He could not believe the news when he first learned of the accident on Sunday.

The shock and sadness was quite evident on the site, named RIP Nick and Corey.

"Well boys I still don't believe this, and honestly it will probably never sink in fully," friend Doug Proctor posted on the site. "Nick you were like my little brother for so many years; Bates you always wanted to just sit and chat didn't matter what time or where it was and always had a smile on your face. You both will be missed tremendously. "

Another friend, Courtney Gilroy, wrote, "Corey , you were like another big brother and I'll miss you like crazy. Nick, you were pretty awesome even though I didn't know you that well."

Bates was studying civil engineering technology at the New Brunswick Community College while Merrill worked with his father. He and Merrill were both members of the Fundy Phantoms Junior C hockey team. Both were active in other sports including baseball while Merrill was a coach with an area minor soccer team.

Visiting hours for Merrill are set for today at Campbell's Funeral Home from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. with funeral service set for Wednesday at 11 a.m. at First Baptist Church while visiting hours for Bates are Wednesday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at the Furlong-Jones Funeral Home with the funeral on Thursday at 2 p.m. in the chapel.