Brock athlete dies in auto crash

Less than a month after the death of Jordanian IELP student Mohammed Abu Elayan, Brock was hit by the untimely loss of another one of its students. Jason Pearson, a two-sport athlete who had just finished his third year in physical education, was killed in a head-on auto collision on Beaverdams Road, near Kottmeier Road in Thorold in the early hours of Saturday, June 8.The Badger volleyball and basketball player was spending his first summer away from his hometown of Guelph, working as a councillor at a Brock sports camp. He was returning from his regular bar, Arizona’s Taps & Grill in Thorold, after a night of watching Game 2 of the NBA finals and hanging out with friends.

The crash occurred at approximately 2:30 a.m., when the Mazda containing Pearson, Badger basketball star Ryan Dudley, Pawel Lejowski and driver Lukas Hodgson collided head on with a Ford Escort coming around a bend in the wrong lane. Hodson was taken to Hamilton General Hospital in serious condition, while Dudley and Lejowski were treated for minor injuries. The driver of the other car, 44-year-old Pius Day of Port Colborne, was killed in the crash. Day had just returned to work as a welder at Allied Marine Industries after an long period on disability leave after tearing ligaments in a head-on collision with a transport truck. The Niagara Regional Police are investigating the crash, but were unable to comment as to whether or not charges had been laid.

Pearson had taken a year off from basketball to play on volleyball last year, where he was voted the team’s MVP. This year, the known three point threat was planning to make his return to the basketball court.

Basketball coach Ken Murray described Pearson as a “happy-go-lucky guy” who “seemed to get along with everyone … he always seemed to have this smile on his face.”

Murray felt that Pearson’s death would have a major effect on the team both on the court and in terms of morale.

“For the [team members] that are closer to him, there will be a feeling of emptiness at first,” said Murray. He feels, however some team members will use Pearson’s death as “a motivator, dedicating the season to him.”

On the court, Murray will miss Pearson’s work ethic. “He was a real hard working kid,” said Murray. “He had some leadership abilities and that will be hard to replace”

Murray also said that Pearson seemed to have gained some maturity during his hiatus from basketball and that he was going to be an important part of the team next year. He said that the team was planning to honour Pearson in an official fashion.

“He will definitely be missed,” said Murray.

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