Sunday, December 9, 2012

Northern Light: Survivor of tragic crash says film was more fiction


27 Nov 2012 08:33AM

He was one of only four people in a van of 12 to survive a horrific accident more than four years ago, and he says a movie that aired on CBC Television on Nov. 18 wasn’t done in memory of those who died, but more for financial gain.

Jacquet River’s Tim Daley, now 22, was in a van being driven by Bathurst High School boys’ basketball coach Wayne Lord when it careened over the centre line only minutes from home around midnight on Jan. 12, 2008. The resulting accident killed Lord’s wife Beth and seven members of the basketball team. Only Daley, teammate Bradd Arseneau and Lord’s daughter Katie survived the accident.

Daley spent the next three months recovering from a broken pelvis and wrist. Wayne Lord escaped the accident uninjured, while Arseneau had broken ribs and a bruised lung. Katie Lord had only minor injuries.

Daley said that in his opinion, the movie shouldn’t have been made.

“I have mixed feelings about the movie. Personally I do believe that it should not have been made; however, that was out of my control to begin with. Despite what I wanted and what the community wanted, the movie would have been made,” he said on Nov. 21.

Daley said he didn’t watch the movie but had heard while it was being filmed and since it was aired on Nov. 18 that it wasn’t accurate in its version of what happened. The movie didn’t deal with the accident itself but its aftermath.

“To me this movie is fictional, and I can’t help but feel upset that it was made. I feel that it was merely an attempt for financial gain despite anyone’s feelings or intentions. They do not realize how it affects us close to the accident. That movie forces me to relive something that I worked very hard to deal with and accept.”

None of those involved in the accident were in the movie. Some players on the 2009-2010 version of the team played roles as opposing players in games against the Phantoms in the movie.

“I was never asked to participate in the film, and even if I was, I would have declined. I have heard that the movie is not the true story ... that they play it off as only one person survived and that they defeat all odds and won a championship.”

Daley’s perception of the movie is accurate. It follows the story of one survivor of the crash (the player’s real name wasn’t used) and how he leads his team to victory in the provincial championship the next season.

“I just hope that those boys in the movie and those boys who won the championship don’t forget why this championship was so important. To take pride in beating a team by 50 in a final when they (the Phantoms) were in a league in which they didn’t belong in the first place makes me feel a little embarrassed that it was made to be a big deal.”

Bathurst High School was entered in the AAA league because its school enrolment numbers were so high. The following year, they were granted permission to drop down to AA because so many players on the team were killed in the accident.

“I do take pride in the Bathurst High School team; however, I also can’t feel pride in beating a team with 900 fewer students in their school. My friends had to die for that win to mean anything at all, and I can only hope that is not forgotten. They missed the real story and made a fictional story for financial gain.”

Daley spent months in a wheelchair recovering from the accident but graduated with his friends. He went on to graduate from the Atlantic Police Academy and was recently hired by the North Peace Tribal Police in northern Alberta.

“I keep in touch with everyone. It is not on a regular basis, however, we do keep in touch. I do keep in touch with Jordan Frenette (the 10th player on the team who didn’t make the fateful trip due to an illness), and we are still good friends.”