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Crash victim, 19, was a ‘very special guy’

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Stephen Edwards was a promising rugby player (photo by Neville Zuill)

A law student and athlete hurt in a crash on Tuesday morning has died as a result of his injuries.

Stephen Chioke Edwards, 19, was being treated at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital after a crash on South Road in Devonshire, near the junction with Gables Lane.

According to Police, Mr Edwards succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday.

“It appears that he was riding his motorcycle when he lost control of his cycle and collided,” a Police spokesman said. “Following the collision, Stephen was admitted into the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit, where he remained until his passing.

“A Family Liaison Officer has been assigned to Mr Edwards’s family to assist them at this difficult time and a full investigation into this fatal collision is under way.”

His death marks the fifteenth on the Island’s roads in 2014 and was the first of two fatalities that tragically bookended the New Year’s holiday.

Yesterday, Mr Edwards was described as talented and dedicated. In recent years, he had earned the prestigious Conyers Dill and Pearman legal scholarship to study at the University of Sussex in England and served as captain of the Bermuda National Under-18s sevens rugby team.

David Cooke, director and head of the corporate department at Conyers Dill and Pearman, said: “Stephen was a very special guy. I first got to know Stephen through youth rugby.

“From an early age, he approached the game with what I later came to appreciate was a characteristic combination of enormous ability and totally focused commitment. He was a coach’s dream — and he was magic on the pitch, seeming to cut through defences at will.

“He was equally driven academically. When he graduated from the Berkeley Institute and realised that he needed a further qualification in order to pursue a legal education, he enrolled in a sixth form college in England, leaving his friends and family in Bermuda. It seemed a big gamble at the time; but he did so well there that he received excellent university offers and was awarded the Conyers Dill and Pearman legal scholarship.

“On top of all that, he was an exceptionally pleasant young man and was a genuinely good person. He had an amazing future ahead of him, and everyone who knew him is devastated by the loss.”

Patrick Calow, youth development officer for the Bermuda Rugby Football Union, said the loss of Mr Edwards was a tragedy for the Island.

“He was very, very easygoing and very easy to get along with and coach,” Mr Calow said. “He was always really hungry to learn. That was one of the things that made him stand out. He always wanted to be better. He got along well with all of his team-mates and was just a good person on and off the field.”

He expressed his condolences to Mr Edwards’s family and friends, adding: “His death is a big loss for Bermuda rugby and the community as a whole. He was not just a good rugby player, but a good person.”

The Progressive Labour Party also expressed its condolences, saying: “Bermuda joins the family of Stephen Edwards in mourning the tragic loss of this young man. Our prayers and sympathy go out to his family and friends.”

The Law Students’ Association of Bermuda extended its condolences to the family and friends of Mr Edwards. President and executive director, Audley Quallo, said: “I had the unique opportunity in holding a dialogue with Mr Edwards in the summer of 2014 when he received the prestigious Conyers Dill & Pearman legal scholarship. My brief exchange with Mr Edwards demonstrated that he had a unique perspective on life, domestic and global issues and that he was acutely interested in making a contribution to his country. I was poised that he would indubitably be a future leader in Bermuda and world class advocate within the law courts. The legal profession of Bermuda has certainly been deprived by the future addition of Mr Edwards. I observed Mr Edwards’ avid participation and contribution in the sports arena as a rugby player. Indeed his untimely death painfully strikes many of us who Stephen encountered. He had a gentle and polished attitude and certainly was one whose company was a pleasure to be around. Our prayers are with his family and friends and to all who have been impacted by Stephen’s sudden loss.”

Mr Edwards’s friends came together at Somersfield Academy for a rugby game — and a minute of silence — in his honour.

Police are continuing to appeal for any witnesses to the fatal accident, or anyone who may know Mr Edwards’s whereabouts in the hours before the collision, to come forward by contacting Pc Shantia Furbert at sfurbert@bps.bm at 247-1161.

David Astwood, left, chairman of the Conyers Dill & Pearman Scholarship Committee, scholarship recipient Stephen Edwards, centre, and Stephen’s mentor at Conyers, Sophia Greaves