Four teenage friends who died in a single-vehicle accident early Saturday will be honoured at a funeral service this afternoon in Cap-Pelé, N.B., that is expected to attract hundreds.
Luc Arsenault, 17, and Justin Léger, Sebastien Léger, and Justin Brown, all 18, died when the car they were in veered off the road and struck a culvert in Notre-Dame early on Saturday morning.
Mayor Debbie Dodier says the loss hits everyone hard in the fishing village of 2,300.
"You never believe it would happen at your place and always assume it's going to happen somewhere else," she said.
Dodier is also the principal of the local elementary school and knew the boys from the time they entered kindergarten.
She says their connection to the community deepened as they grew older and she hoped they would lead the community in years to come.
"We have people that are going to take over in five, 10, 15 years," she said. "Those young boys were the ones that were — four of them that were going to take over as leaders in the community.
"Unfortunately, we lost four, good possible leaders."
Students at Louis J. Robichaud High School in Shediac gathered to grieve Monday. Arsenault was a student at the school, and the other three friends graduated in June.
Principal Luc Michaud said staff were on hand to offer comfort and support to the students.
"As you can can imagine it's pretty tough right now," he said. "I think it was a long day. Kids are going through something that would be their first time for most of them to go through grief like this."
The funeral service is set for 3 p.m at Ste-Thérese d'Avila Church in Cap Pelé.
Rev. Louis-Joseph Boudreau is hoping to help people grapple with the tragedy. He says the boys loved life and shared that love with their community.
"How joyful these four friends were, among themselves, and also they were sort of the life of the party and at school they had that gift of being life-giving in a sense."