There has been a huge outpouring of sympathy and support from the many friends of 34-year-old Clinton Bradley Albert Schoening who was killed in a motorcycle accident Saturday night on Eastside Road.
Plans have already been made for a barbecue and bike rally as well as a silent auction, bottle drive and trust fund to raise money for his wife Crystal Sylvester and the couple’s sons, aged two and four.
Sylvester was a passenger on the motorcycle and is currently in hospital where she was last reported in critical but stable condition.
Marissa Hilton-McPherson is a close personal friend and one of the people who is helping organize the fundraiser planned for Sunday, June 2.
“I’m not surprised at all about this response,” she said Tuesday. “Clint had an amazingly huge personality, he touched everybody that he met in a really positive way. Crystal is an absolutely amazing woman and amazing mother and they deserve all the support they can get. This is an absolutely devastating loss.
“Clinton is like a big brother to everybody and they are like family to many of us and this is what friends do.”
What is critical now is raising as much money as possible for mother and sons.
To do that they are asking the public to stop by the Penticton Minute Muffler shop June 2 and buy a hotdog, bring some empties to fill the dump truck and leave funds in the cash jar.
People can also donate at branch of the CIBC using transit number, 00060, account number 58-48881.
“You name it, we’re going to do everything we possibly can to help them,” said Hilton-McPherson.
The bike rally begins at noon June 2, leaving Minute Muffler going south on Highway 97 to Oliver and back along Eastside Road to Penticton.
Drawing for the silent auction will be from 5 p.m.-6 p.m. followed by a steak and lobster dinner at the Sage and Vines Bistro at 7 p.m. Tickets for the dinner are $60 and will include transportation.
Tuesday morning on Facebook, Schoening’s sister Traci posted this response to the many messages of condolence.
“I just want to say thank you to everyone who has been reaching out through messages, calls, texts, emails, comments left, prayers, flowers, food brought over and just checking on us in all different ways. I’m sorry I can’t respond personally to everyone. Just please know that it doesn’t go unnoticed and we very much appreciate it during this very difficult time. xo”
Family friend and event co-organizer Sara McGibbon also posted a note of appreciation.
“I can’t express how grateful I am for having such wonderful friends and being part of this community.”
According to the B.C. Coroners Service, Schoening was operating a Harley Davidson at the time of the incident, left the paved surface and struck a road sign. He died at the scene.
RCMP initially said an officer on patrol just after 9 p.m. that night was travelling south on Eastside Road when he was passed by a northbound motorcycle travelling at a high rate of speed.
The officer activated his overhead emergency lights and turned around, losing sight of the bike, however, came upon the crash scene about a kilometre away.
Because of the involvement of police in the incident the matter was turned over to the Independent Investigations Office of B.C.
Under the terms of a 2012 memorandum signed by the provincial chief civilian director and B.C.’s police services, IIO investigates incidents where there are fatal and/or serious injuries involving the police.
IIO spokesman Owen Court said Monday the preliminary investigation will focus on the officer’s role in the matter which will determine the further involvement of the provincial body.
Analysts were deployed to the accident scene near Smythe Drive, just north of where the road changes from Lakeside to Eastside. It was closed to through traffic until late Sunday morning at which time the motorcycle was also removed by a tow truck.
Court said the role of the IIO is to conduct fair, unbiased, timely, thorough and competent investigations and ensure transparency through public reporting.
At this time, the Coroners Service and the IIO are continuing to investigate the circumstances of this death.