February 24, 2018

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Boy dies after being hit by pickup truck

Eight-year-old was using crosswalk on way to school

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Memorial at scene of deadly collision.</p>

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Memorial at scene of deadly collision.

An eight-year-old boy is dead after being hit by a vehicle while using a pedestrian crosswalk on his way to school Tuesday morning in St. Vital.

The boy, a Grade 3 student at nearby École Varennes, was struck around 8:20 a.m., moments after crossing guards wrapped up their shift at the crosswalk on St. Anne’s Road between Varennes and Bank avenues.

The driver of the vehicle involved, a grey GMC crew-cab truck, remained on scene until Winnipeg police arrived.

The boy was rushed to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

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An eight-year-old boy is dead after being hit by a vehicle while using a pedestrian crosswalk on his way to school Tuesday morning in St. Vital.

The boy, a Grade 3 student at nearby École Varennes, was struck around 8:20 a.m., moments after crossing guards wrapped up their shift at the crosswalk on St. Anne’s Road between Varennes and Bank avenues.

The driver of the vehicle involved, a grey GMC crew-cab truck, remained on scene until Winnipeg police arrived.

The boy was rushed to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

By 3:30 p.m., the lane was reopened to traffic, but signs of the tragedy remained. Markings from the police investigation could been seen on the road and flecks of blood stained the snow near a puddle of water coloured red.

A security camera for an nearby ice cream shop captured video footage of the accident, which was turned over to city police. An employee said the boy looked to be crossing the street when he was hit.

The speed limit on St. Anne’s is 60 kilometres per hour, and the crosswalk has overhead flashing lights.

What happened next was seen by Stephan Marchant, a father of two children who also attend École Varennes, located about a block away from the accident.

"I came upon (the scene) probably not even 30 seconds after. I saw the boy laying on the road. Shoes strewn about. Bare feet. I knew the impact — it didn’t look good. It just didn’t look good. There were already eight or nine people who had gotten out of their cars. They were doing chest compressions already, so I knew that wasn’t a good sign," Marchant said.

"It’s like your worst nightmare, picturing that being your child. I was shook up, definitely."

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>A witness talks to police after a truck struck a child on St. Annes Road between Varennes and Bank avenues Tuesday morning.</p>

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

A witness talks to police after a truck struck a child on St. Annes Road between Varennes and Bank avenues Tuesday morning.

In addition to the boy’s shoes, a backpack — which looked to belong to a child — could be seen lying in the middle of the road. Also visible was a woman’s purse on the ground near the scene of the incident.

While it was not yet known if anyone was with the boy when he was struck, a woman — visibly upset — could be seen being led away from the crosswalk.

The truck involved in the collision was towed away around 2:30 p.m., but numerous police cars and a WPS checkstop van remained for another hour.

While the driver of the truck wasn’t charged Tuesday, a police spokesman said charges could be laid, pending the outcome of the investigation.

Louis Riel School Division released a statement Tuesday confirming the boy was a Grade 3 student at École Varennes, a kindergarten to Grade 8 school. His classmates will be notified of his death and grief counsellors will be available for them, the division said.

The school declined further comment.

Ron Stevens, who has two grandchildren who attend École Varennes, said Tuesday the crosswalk in question is notoriously dangerous. He said he’s experienced close calls there himself.

"I have almost been hit a couple of times by people (at the crosswalk). So I think it’s pretty shameful something can’t be done to make that intersection more safe for the kids. I almost got hit by a truck turning left. I was in the crosswalk and, all of a sudden, ‘boom,’ she’s there," Stevens said.

"If she had been going any faster, I would have ended up underneath the pickup. I slammed my hands down on the hood and she stopped. It was pretty close."

After expressing sympathy for the family of the boy who died, Stevens said it could just as easily have been his grandchildren. "They were walking to school with a neighbour today. They had just passed, and this happened 10 minutes later. If they had been late, they could have been knocked over, too."

Around 4 p.m., a woman came to the crosswalk and nearby placed a glass jar stuffed with a note, small teddy bear and some flowers.

ryan.thorpe@freepress.mb.ca

jessica.botelho@freepress.mb.ca

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