Crash victim remembered for smile, love of big machines
London Community News
By Paul Everest/London Community News/Twitter: @PaulEverest1
One of the great passions of Andrew Gileff’s life was coming across any vehicle with four wheels and an engine that was bigger than he was.
“Loved, loved, loved big machines, big trucks, Zambonies, cement trucks. They were all as big as the sky,” said Michelle Palmer, the executive director of Community Living London (CLL), where Gileff, 30, was a resident.
It’s a sad irony, she said, that he was “out for a drive, looking for big trucks” on Saturday evening (July 21) when he was involved in a two-vehicle crash in north London that claimed his life.
“It was a beautiful evening, they went out for some pizza and then a nice drive,” Palmer said, adding the driver of the Honda mini-van Gileff was riding in was a staff member at CLL.
He received minor injuries in the crash, she said, but is now OK, at least physically.
“Mentally, he’s obviously extremely upset. It’s obviously a shock for him as well.”
For nine years, Gileff was receiving residential and other forms of support at CLL, an organization which helps people with intellectual disabilities.
“He’s delightful young man. Full of life, full of vigour. Great smile,” Palmer said. “Every time I think about Andrew you just see a smile, because it lights up a room.
“He was just a very kind man.”
She added Gileff had a special quality that just drew people to him.
“He made an impact on a lot of people when they met him. We’re all in shock.”
Although Palmer would not comment on whether Gileff’s family lives in London, she said everyone at the centre considered him family and a memorial service to honour Gileff will likely be held later this week.
Police are still looking into the causes of the crash, which happened at the intersection of Adelaide Street and Sunningdale Road at about 8 p.m.
The mini-van Gileff was a passenger in was heading westbound on Sunningdale Road when it collided with a white Chevrolet Blazer, also carrying two occupants, which was heading southbound on Adelaide Street.
The mini-van ended up in a ditch on the west side of the intersection facing eastbound.
Gileff was taken to University Hospital, police said, where he succumbed to his injuries and died in hospital and the driver of the mini-van was taken to Victoria Hospital.
One occupant of the SUV was also taken to Victoria Hospital with minor injuries.
Police did not release any details about the other people involved in the crash.
London police are asking anyone with information about the collision, or anyone who may have observed either vehicle prior to the collision, to contact them at 519-661-5680.