Brother found in overturned car
Zach and Jake Smith shared a special bond, one only brothers could.
They shared a lot of the same friends and often went out together on weekends, but they didn’t this past weekend.
Jake, 22, was getting a ride home from Barrie from a friend shortly before 3 a.m. Sunday when he noticed a car overturned in the east ditch of Rama Road, just south of Monck Road.
He asked the driver to pull over and got out.
It was the 2005 white Chevy Cavalier Zach, 21, had gotten two weeks earlier.
Zach, who had been travelling north alone on his way home from one of his friend’s houses, was still inside the mangled vehicle. When emergency services arrived, he was pronounced dead at the scene.
“I think he wanted me to be there to give him peace at the end,” Jake said Sunday evening, surrounded by family and friends, sitting in the living room of the Rathburn home where he grew up with Zach.
“He was a part of me and I was a part of him.”
Zachary James Smith, born March 10, 1992, to Norma and Ben Smith, was the second eldest of four siblings.
Growing up, he played soccer and baseball in Ramara and minor hockey and ball hockey in Orillia.
“He was a real, all-around sports guy,” said Norma.
“He was the biggest Toronto Maple Leafs fan you’ll ever meet ... He was just so excited that the Leafs made the playoffs this year.”
Zach, who graduated from Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School in 2010, dreamed of one day becoming a sports journalist.
He attended Durham College in 2011 to study journalism, but had been working at TeleTech since January.
While Zach was shy, he had a wicked sense of humour.
“He had this dry wit,” Norma said. “He was very quick with his one-liners.”
Zach never had an unkind word to say about anyone, said his aunt, Catherine McSorley.
Whenever she’d call their house to speak with her sister, she’d say, “I love you, Zach,” and he’d answer, “I love you, too, Aunt Catherine.”
In an essay he wrote while still at Patrick Fogarty, he said, “I am a huge believer in loving others and treating them with the respect that they deserve to be treated with. ‘Love others like you love yourself’ is a saying that I try to live my life by every day and I think this philosophy has made me a better person.”
Zach’s only sister, Sarah, turned 19 last week.
Growing up, she sometimes felt she had to look out for her less-outgoing older brother, but recently, it was he who had taken her under his wing.
Zach was showing her the ropes as she transitioned into adulthood.
“He was helpful to everybody,” said his younger brother, Eli, 15, who looked to him for advice on everything from homework to life lessons.
Police don’t know why Zach’s car left the road.
A stretch of Rama Road near where the car was discovered was closed for five hours following the accident while the Technical Traffic Collision Investigation (TTCI) unit looked into it.
“The investigation is ongoing. We don’t know what happened at this point,” said Orillia OPP Const. Jim Edwards, who doesn’t anticipate charges will be laid. “Until we get the actual results from TTCI and the investigation is complete, we can’t say.”
Zach is survived by his parents, siblings, grandmothers Helen Smith and Mary Butler and grandfather Jim Butler as well as numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.
Visitation will be held at Mundell Funeral Home in Orillia Wednesday from 6 to 9 p.m. and Thursday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.
“I think we lost a great kid,” said his aunt, Lynn Morris.
“Maybe God takes all the good ones to spare them all the pain and suffering in life,” Norma said.