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Morden teen dies after being struck by semi

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A 14-year-old girl died after she was struck by a semi-trailer on Wednesday in Morden.

Morden police said Taylor Penner and her younger sister were waiting to walk their bicycles across the street at a red light at the intersection of Mountain Street and Thornhill Street in the southern Manitoba community.

The semi, travelling south on Mountain, started turning west onto Thornhill at the same time the girls began to cross. As the semi was turning, the wheels on the trailer struck Penner and the bike she was pushing.

The other girl was not hit as she was able to drop her bicycle and get out of the way in time, said Morden Police Service Chief Brad Neduzak.

Neduzak said it is not known if the girls were surprised by the semi turning the corner.

"We still have more statements to take and get the results back from the traffic analyst, but that's just an assumption," Neduzak said. "It may have appeared that the truck was going straight. The semi was obviously taking the turn, it had its signal on according to witnesses so that was certainly intent. There was nothing like, he was going straight and last minute decided to turn, that's not the case. His intention all along was to turn. He made the turn at the same time they stepped off the curb."

Taylor was taken to Boundary Trails Health Centre and then transported to Children's Hospital in Winnipeg where she died early Thursday morning.

Neduzak said it will be determined once the investigation is complete if there are any charges laid against the driver of the semi.

Friends of Taylor indicated today on social media that a candlelight ceremony was held Thursday night at the intersection to honour her.

Stephen Ross, superintendent of the Western School Division, said today a crisis support team, led by assistant superintendent Cyndy Kutzner, was mobilized early Thursday. The team includes teachers, administrators and divisional assistants and other staff who received special training for crisis management.

"They (crisis support team) met very early (Thursday) morning. Different stations were set up around the school so people could come in if they needed a place to go or someone to talk to. Parents were coming in with their children to spend some time at this school. The family is a huge concern for us and showing them support in this time of loss," Ross said.

On Thursday, Morden Collegiate principal Souhail Soujah issued a statement on the school website.

"The staff and students of Morden Collegiate are grieving the death of a young girl in grade nine. Taylor Penner passed away... as a result of complications after being hit by a vehicle. Our students were informed about Taylor’s death at school (Thursday).

"The loss of one of our children affects each of us in different ways. We have formed a crisis support team to help our school community deal with this loss and we are undertaking many activities and discussions within the school to remember our friend and to mourn our loss."

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Updated on Friday, September 13, 2013 at 8:53 AM CDT: Adds statement from school.

9:13 AM: Adds comments from school division superintendent.

10:50 AM: Adds comment from police chief.

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