Residents in a Burnaby neighbourhood where a 14-year-old was struck and killed by a dump truck on Thursday say they’ve been raising safety concerns in the area for months.
The collision happened around 3:30 p.m. on 11th Avenue near 16th Street, an area near a massive construction site and two schools.
Neighbour Abdulai Dukuly told Global News his cousin was home at the time, and rushed to the scene.
“(The victim) was on the ground, the two other friends were shouting, crying, (my cousin) tried to comfort those two kids until the police arrived,” he said.
Dukuly believes victim and two friends were walking home from school and may have been startled by a barking dog.
“The kids started to run away, and I think one of them actually ended up hitting the truck,” he said.
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It’s not the first time a pedestrian has been hit in the area recently. In November, an 18-year-old girl was also struck nearby, though she escaped without serious injuries.
Neighbours told Global News they’ve raised the issue numerous times with officials.
“This construction site has had a lot of reckless drivers. I’ve been emailing the city, I’ve talked to the RCMP, I’ve talked to bylaws in Burnaby and nobody has really done anything to make it any safer,” neighbour Stacy Wallwork told Global News.
“I can’t even let my kids and my pets outside without worrying about them being struck by cars.”
Dukuly said he has also lodged numerous complaints with police and the city, including about people short-cutting across his lawn at a dead-end corner.
The combination of construction vehicles and lots of children, he said, is worrying.
“With kids and vehicles it’s very busy, because you have an elementary school right close by and also a high school,” he said.
“It’s quite dangerous, there should be more safety procedures in place.”
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Burnaby RCMP and the city both say they’re aware of concerns in the area.
City of Burnaby spokesperson Chris Bryan said police and city officials had previously met with residents to discuss safety issues, and had added detours and removed some parking in the area in response.
“Any time we hear concerns we’ll come out and look, and if we have to make changes or follow up with developers we’ll do that,” he said.
“Right now we don’t know exactly what happened, so our focus is to find out what happened and if there are changes we can make to improve safety we’ll absolutely do them,” he added.
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On Friday, the construction company working on the nearby project said it was shutting the site down over the weekend out of respect for the victim and her family.
“Safety is our top priority. 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,” Ledingham McAllister & Marcon Construction said in a statement.
“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 company added that the truck driver, who works for a trade partner, was “devastated and in shock.”
Burnaby RCMP says the driver remained at the scene and is cooperating with police. Drugs or alcohol aren’t believed to have been factors in the collision.
“They are examining numerous areas of investigative avenues, some of those include distractions that might have been in place, some of those may include the layout of the roadway including vehicle obstructions, visibility, as well as the road conditions,” Cpl. Brett Cunningham said.
“It was raining pretty heavily yesterday and wet.”
The identity of the victim has not been publicly released.
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