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"ELZ" 2008 Obituary


ELZINGA o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2008-07-05 published
Three Friends who perished in watery crash were ‘full of life'
By Anthony REINHART and Sarah BOESVELD and Matthew CAMPBELL, Page A1
Minett, Ontario, Toronto -- Peninsula Road is worth taking slowly, if only for the postcard-pretty views of the Joe River, as the locals call it.
On Friday, where the road curves before crossing the river, cottage-bound travellers slowed to take in a starkly different sight: 20 metres of metal guardrail ripped from the ground, a pine tree shorn at a point as high as a basketball hoop, and various bits of the Audi S4 that literally flew through here and into the river on Thursday evening, killing three young men inside.
A fourth occupant, a young woman, survived somehow.
Ontario Provincial Police identified the dead as Tyler MULCAHY and Cory MINTZ, both 20 and from Toronto, and Kourosh TOTONCHIAN, 19, of North York.
The Audi belonged to Mr. MINTZ, but Mr. MULCAHY was driving when the car crashed into the lake.
Friends and family said Friday that the young men were “full of life” and loved to have a good time up at the cottage while on a break from their university studies.
Mr. TOTONCHIAN's father, Ali, said Friday that his son was “a great boy” who was finishing his second year of business at the University of British Columbia, and had dreams of becoming a lawyer.
“He was a people person. He could always charm his way through anything, ” Mr. TOTONCHIAN said.
Ryan SILVERSTEIN, who had known Mr. MINTZ for seven years, said the young man was starting an acting career and was seeking an agent. He had finished his first year at the University of Western Ontario in London and was living in his mother's boyfriend's cottage on Peninsula Road during the summer while running his own boat-detailing business.
“He wasn't just a best friend, he was my brother, ” he said of Mr. MINTZ. “He was a hipster guy, liked to party, wore tight jeans, listened to cool music.&rdquo
A family member said the group was driving home from Cory MINTZ's cottage at the time of the accident.
Mr. MULCAHY attended Upper Canada College and had completed his third year at the University of San Diego. Friend Andrew REBURN described him as “fun guy to be around. He had a great sense of humour and always seemed to be happy.&rdquo
Nastasia ELZINGA, 19, of Toronto escaped the wreckage and was taken to South Muskoka Memorial Hospital in Bracebridge, where she was treated for minor injuries and released. Friends say she attends McGill University in Montreal and is “athletic and very bright.&rdquo
“I don't know how she walked away, ” Ontario Provincial Police Constable Skeeter KRUGER said of the 7 p.m. accident, “but she said her Friends were still in the car” as the first of many emergency workers arrived.
The car came to rest on the rocky river bottom with its passenger side down and the badly damaged driver's side protruding less than 30 centimetres from the water, Constable KRUGER said.
Police, local volunteer firefighters and bystanders scrambled down an embankment of granite boulders and waded into 1.5 metres of water to retrieve the young men. They tried to resuscitate them, but to no avail, Constable KRUGER said.
The wrecked car, leaking fuel, was pulled from the river afterward.
On Friday, driver after driver pulled over, some with bouquets and all with sober expressions, off the winding road, which has a posted speed limit of 80 km/h.
Ontario Provincial Police traffic investigators were not ready to discuss the speed of the Audi or who was driving, but it was clear that the car left the road at substantial speed, given the length of ripped-out guardrail, the tree broken four metres above ground, the strewn debris and a set of curving skid marks that indicated a failed attempt to cling to the yellow centre line.
Herwig SCHROTH, 71, a resident of nearby Port Carling, said that every summer he sees vacationers in high-performance cars, speeding. Last year's example, which he witnessed near Bala, involved “two cars racing at at least 150 km/h; one a Corvette, one a BMW. They were just chasing each other, ” Mr. SCHROTH said at the roadside, where a pine scent wafted from the snapped tree.
“It's the kind of thing that happens every year, ” said Alf MORTIMER, 84, a lifelong Muskokan who owns the marina in Port Sandfield, a few kilometres south of the crash site. “But this is a bad accident.&rdquo
Beyond the obvious loss to the young men's families and Friends, Constable KRUGER said, the deaths unnerved colleagues. The Bracebridge Ontario Provincial Police detachment has now seen six deaths in four incidents in recent weeks -- three on the roads and one, last weekend, on the water.
“Having to do [death] notifications is one of the worst jobs we have to do, ” he said. “There isn't one person who goes home at the end of the day and doesn't take a piece of this with them.&rdquo
Autopsies were scheduled for today; subsequent toxicology tests will determine whether alcohol played a role.
In the meantime, Constable KRUGER said, “there has to be higher respect for our roads and our waterways across the province. We continue to educate people about making good driving decisions, and it would be great if some of those messages would get through to people.&rdquo

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ELZINGA o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2008-07-12 published
'I just want my big brother back'
Mourners say goodbye in funeral for third crash victim in tragic Muskoka accident
By Sarah BOESVELD, Page A10
Nastasia ELZINGA laid both hands flat on the wooden casket decked with white and pink lilies yesterday as she gave her final goodbye to boyfriend Tyler MULCAHY.
As she leaned over the casket, she wasn't crying, but smiling, perhaps because so many loved ones gathered to honour Mr. MULCAHY, who died in a horrific car crash in Muskoka along with two other Friends last Thursday.
Ms. ELZINGA was also in the car and survived.
Hundreds gathered to pay tribute to Mr. MULCAHY at Grace Church on-the-Hill yesterday afternoon. Before a crowd of people crammed in the pews and lining the walls, the 20-year-old was described by his Friends as an anchor, by his sisters as a protector, and by his father as a reason for living.
"Tyler is the reason we hurt so much," said his father, Tim MULCAHY. "We hurt because he loved us and we loved him."
Mr. MULCAHY motioned toward the pews where Alan MINTZ and Ali TOTONCHIAN, fathers of Cory MINTZ, 20, and Kourosh TOTONCHIAN, 19, who also perished in the crash, were sitting. He thanked them for their support and for phoning to console him after the tragedy.
"Alan MINTZ said we were in a club. When I reflected upon the club, I realized it was the most expensive club in the world, but one nobody wanted to join," he said.
Mr. MULCAHY recollected the early-morning phone call to his hotel room last Thursday in Italy, where he was on vacation. It was the police reporting the unthinkable. He returned to Canada and the scene of the crash on Peninsula Road in Muskoka, where the Audi his son was driving missed a turn and crash-landed into Lake Joseph.
Yesterday, the Ontario Provincial Police confirmed that speed and alcohol were factors in the fatal collision. Autopsy reports confirmed the young men drowned. All were wearing seatbelts, police said. Ms. ELZINGA wrestled her way out of the car and made it to shore.
Tyler MULCAHY's younger sister, Chanel, recalled her brother's merciless teasing, but also how he was always there for her. She said he revelled in the time they spent together and he would never pick up his cellphone if it rang during one of their weekly lunches.
"Tyler was so brilliant, I don't know why he got into that car," she said. "I just want my big brother back."
Shaya MULCAHY highlighted four things she remembers about her brother: the hoodies he wore, his basketball talent, the flamboyant hats he sometimes modelled for laughs, and the joy he brought to so many.
"Without a doubt, Tyler was the happiest person I've ever known," she said. "Tyler knew how to live life."
Mourners wore round white buttons handed out before the service that read "Tyler MULCAHY 1988-Forever" and pictured a blue Converse shoe with Cory and Kourosh's names etched into the sole.
Friends said Mr. MULCAHY was a teacher, a rock and someone who excelled at everything he put his mind to, especially sports and his studies.
Lorne GREENBERG remembered Mr. MULCAHY's ability to make Friends with virtually anyone. He recalls walking in Yorkville with Mr. MULCAHY and hearing voices behind them yelling "Tyler, Tyler, Tyler!"
"Sure enough, two homeless guys come running toward us," he said. "Tyler didn't care about who you were Friends with. Tyler just cared about who you were, and that's something very rare and very special."
Choral music and the scent of lilies wafted through the church full of tearful people young and old. Mourners sang the traditional Upper Canada College hymn, Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven, after tributes were given to the young man, who attended the prestigious school before spending a year studying arts at the University of San Diego.

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