This roadside memorial took a great deal of research and with each name I read from the wooden cross I knew would bring another heartbreaking story. Three names are engraved into the wooden cross that sits off of Highway 20 in Pelham where three young men from Dunnville, Ontario died tragically in a fiery crash early in the morning of July 13th, 2012. An accident that not only took the lives of three, but it also injured and sent 5 others to local hospitals with serious injuries.
The accident occurred at about 1:15 am on July 13th, 2012 on a short stretch between Victoria Avenue and Brady Street where there is a slight curve in the road. Police reported that a car with four people was westbound on Highway 20 when it drifted into the eastbound lane, hitting an oncoming SUV with four people.
The car burst into flames, while the SUV ended up in a ditch, injuring all five people inside. On impact, one of the four individuals in the car was thrown from the vehicle, sparing his life while the other three perished in the car as it burst into flames on impact.
Dennis Falletta, 21 Years Old:
Dennis had just graduated from Dunnville Secondary School weeks before the accident and sadly, Falletta’s brother Aaron John Falletta, 19, died just a week before the accident happened. Dennis was remembered as a bright individual who worked hard at school. The Dunnville native had just graduated high school as part of the Turning Point program, which helps students ages 16 to 21 who have not graduated from high school earn a diploma. Falletta was a determined individual who wanted to make graduation a reality.
Justin Morin, 20 Years Old:
Morin, Falleta and Mraovic were known to be the greatest of friends, “He was just the nicest guy to everyone,” she said. “Zoran would give advice to his friends. He was the type of guy who you could always talk to.”
A friend of Justin said Morin was affectionally known to his friends as Bubba and when he was with Dennis they were always “a blast to be around”
“They always had a smile on their faces, always laughing and joking around,” she said. “It’s so sad that they are gone at such a young age.”
Zoran Mraovic, 20 Years Old
Looking at Zoran’s public Facebook profile, sadly the first post you see (from 2010) reads “We must be diligent today. To wait until tomorrow is too late. Death comes unexpectedly. How can we bargain with it? “
Zoran was remembered by a former classmate, as the “sweetest guy in the world”. In an online tribute friends remembered Zoran as an easy person to talk to about anything and everything. Zoran left behind his two parents and a sister.
This accident brought an entire community together in support of the three families who had each lost a child, as well as for the Falletta family who had lost another son just 4 days before. Fundraisers were held for the families as well as public vigils to remember the victims. A Facebook group was created to memorialize and remember all three boys and messages are often left from friends and family members, keeping their memories and spirits alive. In addition, an annual BBQ is held for family and friends to come together and remember the boys.