Last week, North Vancouver resident Chris Haines woke up to a nightmare after getting a phone call every parent fears and dreads.
His 17-year-old daughter Grace had left home at 10 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 25, to go for a run after a long day studying for exams.
Fifteen minutes later, near the intersection of Keith Road and St. Andrew’s Avenue, a driver hit Grace, knocking her unconscious – before driving away while she lay critically injured in the street.
"My phone on my bedside table was ringing, and it woke me up,” the father said. “And it was Lions Gate Hospital. You don't know how to process a call like that. You're just in shock."
A woman out walking found Grace in medical distress and called 911.
She’s been in critical condition at Lions Gate Hospital ever since, but her father says doctors are optimistic they’ll soon be able to remove her breathing tube and bring her out of an induced coma.
Once that happens, they’ll be able to conduct more cognitive tests to get a better idea of Grace’s long-term prognosis.
"Grace is one of the strongest people I know – physically, mentally. She's tough, she's strong, she's stubborn,” Chris Haines said.
RCMP arrested a suspect driver the day after the hit-and-run, but so far, no charges have been laid.
They also seized a white vehicle but have not identified the make and model as they appeal for more witnesses.
"Although we have made an arrest, it's very important that we continue our efforts to gather all available evidence," said Sgt. Peter DeVries of the North Vancouver RCMP in a statement.
RCMP are appealing for witnesses from two locations who may have seen or heard the vehicle on the night of the collision.
The first is in the area of Keith Road East between Ridgeway Avenue and St. George’s Avenue around 10:15 p.m.
A short time later, RCMP believe the suspect vehicle was on Lynn Valley Road and in the Safeway parking lot at Lynn Valley Centre.
Anyone with dash cam footage from either location the night of the hit and run is asked to contact North Vancouver RCMP at 604-985-1311.
For now, Grace’s father is content to let RCMP worry about the investigation while he’s focused on his daughter’s recovery.
"I can't be angry and I can't use hatred. That won't help Grace with her healing and everything,” Haines said. “That won't do anything. My energy is better spent on love and positivity."
He said Grace, an honour roll student-athlete at St. Thomas Aquinas Regional Secondary School, plans to study engineering at Queen’s University – and he believes her strong will and determination can still make that dream a reality.