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Video: Tears and cheers at 7th annual memorial ride for Richmond woman

Around 80 bikers and 150 people gathered Saturday for an emotional reunion to remember Christy Mahy, 36, who was killed by a dangerous driver seven years ago

There were tears of joy, tears of sorrow and, later on, plenty of cheers of the liquid variety when around 150 people huddled into a parking lot Saturday afternoon near YVR’s south terminal.

They were all there to remember one person – Christy Mahy – who tragically lost her life, age 36, to a dangerous driver in July 2014 at the intersection of Russ Baker Way and the Dinsmore Bridge.

Around 80 or so bikers funnelled out of the parking lot next to the Flying Beaver pub in tandem formation for the 7th Annual Christy Mahy Memorial Ride.

The riders travelled down to close to the U.S. border, before heading back to Ladner, where a friend of the Mahy family was hosting a bash – complete with rock bands – to remember Christy in the only way she would have wanted.

“The one thing about Christy is, she would want us to be happy, that’s why we’ve kept it going,” said her father Ron, a few minutes after laying fresh flowers and tributes at the intersection where her life was she was so cruelly cut short seven years ago.

“And we’ve also been able to keep it going because of all these guys here; this takes a lot of work.

“There’s a crown prosecutor that has actually retired during all of this and I wouldn’t have been able to get it this far if it wasn’t for her either.

“And that includes the Richmond News as well, keeping Christy’s name in the news all these years.”

Christy’s sister, Joni, said she’s filled with joy every year the ride takes place, knowing so many people come together to remember her sibling.

“But I still have a really hard time dealing with it. We never got to say goodbye and that still hurts,” said Joni, her eyes filling up.

“So we do this every year to show her that people cared about her.”

Her equally emotional father, Ron – who fought tooth and nail for years with the authorities to bring the driver responsible, Erjon Kashari, to justice – said he will keep the annual event going as long as he can keep riding and as his fellow bikers want to keep coming.

“It’s so nice to feel so much love for her and I just don’t want anyone to forget her,” said Ron.

“It bothers me immensely, but I have to stay strong. With this much support, how do I say no? We never want to forget her.”

Ever since Christy’s death in 2014, the Richmond News has reported on Ron and his family’s fight to bring Kashari – an Albanian refugee claimant – to Canada to face the charge of criminal negligence causing death.

However, after he was extradited from Albania to Canada in 2020, it all unravelled in court as to how a man with a lengthy criminal record was allowed to enter Canada after being deported from the UK a year prior to his arrival.

It was revealed in court that he was then allowed to leave Canada late in 2014, four months after causing Christy’s death, when he revoked his own refugee claim, triggering an automatic deportation.

A catalogue of loopholes then led to Kashari being allowed to leave the country, despite the RCMP still investigating the fatal accident.

It took the RCMP about two years to finalize its investigation and five years for the BC Prosecution Service to charge him, in his absence, with causing Mahy’s death.

In March of this year, Kashari, was sentenced to time already served in his native Albania and in Canada. It’s understood he was deported back to Albania soon afterwards.

In the days after the revelations in court regarding Kashari’s apparent ease of entry into Canada’s refugee system, the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) and the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) continually passed the buck to each other when asked by the News about who was responsible for letting a known criminal into Canada, allowing him to roam free for four years.

Neither organization took the responsibility.