14-year-old girl fatally struck by truck in Burnaby
Warning: This story contains details and images some readers may find disturbing.
Police in Burnaby are investigating a collision near the city's border with New Westminster that killed a 14-year-old girl Thursday afternoon.
Images from the scene show a yellow tarp covering what appears to be a body on the roadway in the 7100 block of 11th Avenue. A large dump truck can be seen parked in the middle of the road, surrounded by caution tape.
Several residents who live nearby told CTV News that an incident like this, though tragic, is not surprising due to the steady stream of large trucks in the area combined with several children and teens who live in the neighbourhood.
“(I'm) not very surprised, no, to tell you the truth, no,” said Andrew Diosi, a neighbor who lives down the road from where the collision occurred.
“I believe they have a sign over here on 11th saying pedestrians try and use 10th avenue, but with the high school over here, I mean, there’s a lot of foot traffic.”
“I’ve taken videos, I’ve tried the RCMP, I’ve called WorkSafeBC – no one listens,” said Stacy Wallwork, another resident who lives in the area.
Wallwork says a nearby construction site has heavily increased large truck traffic, making the roads feel unsafe for years.
“These trucks are still driving crazily down here. They drive through my yard. I’m worried about them hitting my children and my pets that are out,” said Wallwork, who says she’s written multiple complaints to the City of Burnaby.
Wallwork adds that safety concerns regarding the large trucks have been part of ongoing conversation in the neighbourhood for a while. Another neighbour who didn’t want to be named told CTV News she’s had several "close calls" with trucks.
“No one listened, and unfortunately, now it’s too late,” said Wallwork.
Wallwork wrote an email to the city last summer asking, "Are you ever going to do anything about this? Or are we just waiting for someone to be killed here?"
Chris Bryan, a spokesperson for the City of Burnaby, said it is a priority of the city to understand what happened and to improve the safety of the neighbourhood.
"If there are things that we didn't do correctly, we will be accountable for those things. If there are things that we can do just to improve the situation to make sure the situation doesn't happen again, they'll absolutely do that as well," he said.
On Friday, Ledingham McAllister and Marcon Construction issued a joint statement on the incident near their construction site, saying they are "devastated" by the "tragic accident."
"This is an unimaginable loss for her family, and our deepest condolences and thoughts are with them, her friends, schoolmates, and the entire community," the companies said. "Out of respect for the victim’s family and the community, we closed our construction site and presentation centre today and through the weekend. We will reopen in a limited capacity after we observe a moment of silence and reflection next week."
The companies said they're supporting the Burnaby RCMP in its investigation.
"Safety is our top priority," the companies' statement reads.
"While the accident happened on a public street outside of our construction site, we have launched our own investigation and will work with city staff to explore further ways to reduce risk as trucks enter and leave our site. To that end, until mid next week, we will suspend all activity on our construction site that requires heavy trucks to transport construction materials, including dump trucks."
The truck driver works for Lil Bear Contracting Corp, a Chilliwack-based company.
In an email to CTV News, that company said: "The loss weighs heavy on the hearts of everyone. We have no comment at this time as the matter is still under investigation by the RCMP."
Burnaby RCMP are aware of ongoing safety concerns in the area and have received nearly a dozen complaints this year.
Last November, an 18-year-old girl was also clipped by a truck.
Her mother, who can't be identified due to a court matter, said the driver honked at her daughter to move off the road and continued to drive.
"She moved as far as she could," the woman told CTV News. "What did he do? He continued to drive into her and he hit her with his sideview mirror and he spun her around."
That close call prompted police to investigate traffic concerns in the neighbourhood, and hold discussions with stakeholders and the city, said Cpl. Brett Cunningham.
Cunningham said officers held three enforcement campaigns within a three-block radius of the deadly incident this year.
During that time, 110 commercial vehicles were inspected and 68 of them were taken off the road. Officers also handed out 138 violation tickets for various issues such as defective motor vehicle, insecure cargo, distracted driving or log book deficiencies.
Burnaby RCMP said in a news release that Thursday's crash happened around 3:20 p.m. and involved a pedestrian and a commercial vehicle.
"The driver of the commercial vehicle, a dump truck pulling a dump trailer, remained on scene and is cooperating with the investigation," police said in their release.
A witness told CTV News her children heard an ambulance and numerous police cars approaching around 4 p.m. When they looked outside, they saw a small figure under a tarp on 11th Avenue and a woman lying in the road crying.
“We understand a tragic incident like this will be felt widely throughout the community," said Cpl. Brett Cunningham, in the release.
"Burnaby RCMP is looking at ways to support those impacted by this tragic death. Our Victim Services Unit is also engaged and offering support to those affected."
The detachment's Criminal Collision Investigation Team is working to determine the circumstances that led the truck to strike the girl, police said, adding that they don't believe the driver was impaired.
Investigators are asking anyone who witnessed the incident or has dash cam video from 11th Avenue between 15th and 18th streets to call Burnaby RCMP at 604-646-9999.