Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Monday, September 08, 2014


"We are deeply saddened by her sudden and tragic death yesterday. Laurie was a strong, intelligent, energetic and beautiful person who will be deeply missed by the family, friends and co-workers who loved her so much."
Strano family statement

Laurie Strano, 40, until recently an executive with The Ottawa Hospital, died Saturday morning in a collision with a garbage truck on River Road south of Manotick.
Handout photo / Strano family
"This is a horrific tragedy and a loss to everyone. Laurie Strano was a wonderful, bright and dedicated member of our family at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. She will be deeply missed."
George Weber, president and CEO, The Royal Ottawa Hospital
cyclist collision with dump truck
Emergency services attend the scene of a crash where 40-year-old woman is dead after being hit by a dump truck while riding her bike near River Road and Doyle Road in Manotick on Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014.
Laurie Strano appears to have been a high achiever; identified while in public school for an enriched study program; apart from her academics she was an inspiring athlete. Highly respected in her professional life, she made lifelong friendships. The tragedy is that her life was not a long one. She met her end at the age of 40, a mother of two young children, a boy of nine, and a girl of six. She was looking forward to a second marriage, in November.

Laurie Strano was taking part in a bicycle ride to raise funds for cancer research. Herself a triathlete and an experienced cyclist she was among 900 bicyclists taking part in the Ride the Rideau fundraising event She was three hours into her 100-kilometre ride participating in this charitable event as someone with great bicycling experience, unlike most of those taking part in the fundraising drive. People were riding together in groups.

There were no dedicated bicycle lanes at that juncture on River Road in Manotick, as there are elsewhere in Ottawa. It was raining heavily on Saturday morning, the rain didn't stop until well after noon, when the sun came out from behind grey clouds. But Laurie Strano would never see the sun again, let alone once more be with her two  young children. She was killed in a violent collision with a garbage truck, in Manotick, an Ottawa suburb.

Ironically, in her working life, Laurie Strano was latterly the director of patient safety and risk management at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre where she had transferred from her work with The Ottawa Hospital. Her fiance works at The Ottawa Hospital; they were to be married during a holiday in Cancun, Mexico. She was riding along with her old colleagues, the senior leadership team representing The Ottawa Hospital at the time of the accident.

This was by no means her first fund-raising ride for Ride the Rideau; she had been part of the event for years past. As an accomplished athlete she had the experience of competing in many triathlons, duathlons, ten-kilometre runs, half-marathons and Masters swimming events. In her high school years she was recognized as a competitive gymnast and swimmer. She earned a physiology degree from McGill University and a master's degree in health administration with the University of Ottawa.

But on this fateful day of high aspirations and good fellowship, a 911 call went out at 11:03 a.m. Saturday and paramedics arrived at the River Road destination in Manotick to find her dead at the scene, the result of catastrophic injuries. Some of the witnesses to the shocking accident were treated by paramedics for shock, while members of The Ottawa Hospital social work team did their best to assist some of the traumatized witnesses.

The result was that over 400 riders were taken off the course as a police investigation into the accident required that the accident site be shut down. The ride was then cancelled as a precautionary measure lest any other accidents occur, as well as to aid police in conducting their investigation. The over 900 cyclists who took part in the event raised $2.3-million for cancer research at The Ottawa Hospital.

"We're doing this for a reason: to save lives because we all know someone who has been touched by cancer. So the last thing you expect to hear is that someone has been killed in the middle of trying to do a good thing. I feel terrible", said Inez Quinn, after cycling 76 kilometres, reacting to the news that, someone had lost their life while striving to help advance cancer science, requiring that the event be called off.

A ghost bike has been placed on River Road just outside of Manotick at the site of the accident that killed Laurie Strano during Saturday's Ride the Rideau.
A ghost bike has been placed on River Road just outside of Manotick at the site of the accident that killed Laurie Strano during Saturday’s Ride the Rideau.
Julie Oliver / Ottawa Citizen

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