Monday, June 28, 2010

Sad News from Canada

Here's the story from the Winnipeg Free Press:
No charges have been laid against a 52-year-old tow truck driver who struck and killed a five-year-old boy early Friday evening.

Winnipeg police confirmed the driver was interviewed and released, and that no charges have been laid at this time.

The five-year-old was hit by a Dr. Hook flatbed tow truck across from a busy neighbourhood playground at Charles Street and Manitoba Avenue at 7 p.m. Friday. Police said the boy was riding his bike southbound on Charles Street when he was struck by the truck travelling westbound on Manitoba Avenue. He was killed instantly.

Police have not released any further details, and said officers are investigating the accident.

Several witnesses allege a Dr. Hook flatbed tow truck ran through a four-way stop sign and hit the boy.

Nelson Roulette's 11-year-old son saw the horrific accident, and said the boy's head was crushed by the truck's wheels. Throngs of neighbourhood children were playing in the nearby park at the time, including friends of the victim who went for an ice cream with the boy just one hour earlier.

"I was in the park with my kids and my daughter saw it," said one woman, who wanted to remain anonymous. "His head went between the tires."

The woman phoned 911, while her husband covered the boy's body with a shirt. She said the boy was killed instantly.

She and other witnesses allege the tow truck driver attempted to flee the scene, but was restrained by a group of area residents until police arrived.

Other witnesses said the driver was in the truck sobbing.

Police would not confirm any of these details.

Officials from Dr. Hook Towing declined to comment Friday night.

The boy's family arrived at the accident scene shortly after 8 p.m. hugging and sobbing as police told them what happened.

"I'm not surprised it happened like this with all the traffic that goes by," said longtime resident Monique Roulette. "They have to do something to make it safe for the kids."

Area residents say they've long complained that drivers routinely speed through neighbourhood streets, including some drivers who are cruising for sex trade workers. Roulette said that's made streets unsafe for dozens of children, who ride their bikes and play together in the Pritchard Avenue park.

Nelson Roulette said he wants to see the city install speed humps on streets near the park to prevent such a tragedy from happening again. Roulette said the boy often came over to his house to play with his son and that the boys would ride their bikes and play in the neighbourhood park.

"I think every park should have those humps," Roulette said. "(Neighbourhood children) are alike one big family."

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