The 27-year-old Dundas man who fell from a vehicle on Emerson Street early Monday morning has died.
Joseph Flaherty was a passenger in the vehicle driven by fellow Dundas resident Ryan Grant, 33.
Police said it is Hamilton’s sixth fatality, and the first death of a passenger in a motor vehicle accident in 2014.
Grant, a Brantford police officer, was charged with impaired operation causing bodily harm and impaired operation over 80 mgs. He was granted bail on Monday afternoon.
Police said the charge will be upgraded to impaired operation causing death at Grant’s next court appearance.
Also Monday afternoon, friends and family of Flaherty gathered at Hamilton General Hospital — so many that they had to clear the room and congregate on the lawn outside.
“That’s just a reflection of who he (Joey) was,” said lifelong friend Victor Ljuljdjuraj, adding that it is impossible to go anywhere without running into a buddy of Flaherty’s.
“Anywhere we went, he knew somebody,” he laughed. “Whether it was out at a bar or out to eat or even away on a fishing trip … he was very charismatic, very popular.”
He described his friend as a “hard-working, hands-on guy,” working for the City of Oakville after years with the City of Hamilton. He also loves sports — fishing and softball especially, his friends said.
Friend Brian Kehoe was also at the hospital Monday. He, Ljuljdjuraj and Flaherty were an inseparable trio for more than 20 years, since kindergarten.
Kehoe rushed in from Toronto when he heard the news Monday morning — just days after he’d asked Flaherty to be in his wedding.
“It was tough but it was really nice to see them,” he said of the gang flooding out over the front lawn. Being there was a no-brainer; they know Flaherty would do the same for them.
“He would do anything for anybody … he would literally bend over backwards,” Kehoe said.
Kehoe’s fiancée Alex Campbell said Flaherty was charismatic and fun, always talking about his family and friends.
“They’re so welcoming. We would spend Christmas Eve there every year, they always wanted friends at their house … even years later everyone still made the Flahertys’ house their stomping ground,” she said.
Grant was scheduled to be back in court Sept. 23.
-With files from the Hamilton Spectator