'She came here with a lot of dreams': Burnaby family mourning loss of 14-year-old killed in crash
Lutfullah Behzad remembers every detail from that tragic day.
“I could see two police,” said Behzad from his Burnaby, B.C., home. “They told the story that we’re sorry for you — your daughter is no more in this world.”
Muska Behzad was 14 years old. She died on the afternoon of May 5 after being struck by a dump truck while walking home from school along 11th Avenue, a street containing no sidewalks and heavy commercial truck traffic often driving in and out of a nearby construction site.
Lutfullah says his daughter was full of love and always put family first. He says her kindness is best exemplified by how she cared for her younger brother Arman, who has special needs.
“My daughter was just like a registered nurse,” said Lutfullah. “She would feed this guy, she would help me to clean this guy.”
Muska was the oldest of six children. She and her family moved to Canada less than two years ago from Afghanistan in search of a better life. Her goal was to become a doctor.
“She came here with a lot of dreams and hopes,” Lutfullah told CTV News. “She would tell me that ‘Papa, soon I will give you a big hand.’”
Since the crash, residents who live in the neighbourhood have spoken out against the City of Burnaby, saying they sent several warnings that the road’s lack of sidewalks and non-stop commercial traffic created an environment for something like this to happen.
“The cause is totally the negligence,” said Behzad. “Don’t you think this could happen to anyone else in my community?”
Developers Ledingham Mcallister and Marcon Construction said they have shared CCTV footage with police showing a neighbourhood dog darting out of its yard and startling the victim, causing her to run onto the road. Burnaby RCMP say it’s still unclear exactly what happened as the video was taken from far away and contains no sound.
Investigators have also obtained eye-witness accounts of the incident, but the cause of the crash is still under investigation.
Behzad says his wife is inconsolable, but the community’s generosity and kindness is helping the family cope with their unimaginable loss.
“The way the people console, you know, the way the people say their kind words which really means a lot to us.”
A GoFundMe, launched by a family friend to help cover funeral costs, has already surpassed its original goal of $30,000.
Muska Behzad had only just turned 14 on May 1, and the family had planned a birthday party for last Saturday, two days after she was killed.
“That’s the saddest thing, you know, it will keep hurting me and keep killing me every single day,” he father said.
The City of Burnaby says it has plans to implement safety changes to the area, including adding sidewalks in the near future.