Girl, 10, killed cross­ing road in Wa­ter­down

Po­lice seek­ing wit­nesses and state­ments. Ru­ral road was jammed due to Hwy. 403 clo­sure

The Hamilton Spectator - - FRONT PAGE - NI­COLE O’REILLY

A 10-year-old girl fa­tally struck by a car in Wa­ter­down was try­ing to cross the road in front of her home where traf­fic had backed up with driv­ers avoid­ing a clo­sure of High­way 403.

The crash hap­pened around 6:30 p.m. Tues­day on Evans Road, near Dun­das Street, where res­i­dents have been com­plain­ing about traf­fic con­ges­tion and speed­ers.

The girl ran in front of a south­bound ve­hi­cle, Hamil­ton po­lice said. She died in hos­pi­tal.

“A 10-year-old girl has lost her life in a tragedy. I can’t imag­ine what the fam­ily is go­ing through,” Det. Const. Matt Hewko of the col­li­sion re­con­struc­tion unit said Wed­nes­day.

Area coun­cil­lor Judi Par­tridge said the “tragic ac­ci­dent” is “just heart­break for our Flam­bor­ough/ Wa­ter­down com­mu­nity.”

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to her fam­ily and to her many friends at Mary Hop­kins Ele­men­tary School where she was a stu­dent.”

On the school’s web­site, prin­ci­pal Jenn Ge­orge ex­pressed “deep sad­ness” over the death of Jas­min Hanif, a Grade 4 stu­dent.

“We all share in the grief and sad­ness of hav­ing lost one of our stu­dents. Our thoughts are with the Hanif fam­ily,” the mes­sage to par­ents and guardians says.

Hamil­ton-Went­worth District School Board spokesper­son Jackie Pen­man said a “cri­sis re­sponse team” was at the Mary Hop­kins all day Wed­nes­day and noted there will be sup­port staff at the school for the next few days.

Evans Road runs be­tween two main ar­ter­ies, Dun­das Street and Park­side Drive, and has a speed limit of 50 kilo­me­tres an hour. It’s both res­i­den­tial and ru­ral, with nearby agri­cul­tural op­er­a­tions and older homes on long lots.

There are no side­walks and neigh­bours com­plain the road is a traf­fic night­mare with fre­quent speed­ing mo­torists us­ing it as a thor­ough­fare be­tween Dun­das and Wa­ter­down.

Hewko said po­lice are aware of these com­plaints.

The driver who struck the girl, a 25-year-old man, stopped and along with other wit­nesses and mo­torists of­fered med­i­cal as­sis­tance un­til paramedics ar­rived. He was not in­jured and co-op­er­ated with po­lice. He was not im­paired. Po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether speed was a fac­tor, Hewko said.

Neigh­bour Louie Luis said he was told the girl, who lived with her fam­ily at their home along Evans Road, was try­ing to cross to a neigh­bour’s house.

Be­cause of traf­fic back­ups on the QEW and Hwy. 403 due to a death in­ves­ti­ga­tion near the Aberdeen Av­enue over­pass, many mo­torists were de­tour­ing through Wa­ter­down Tues­day night and it was “bumper to bumper” go­ing north on Evans, he said.

In Wa­ter­down, the girl safely passed through stopped cars in the north­bound lane, but was hit by the south­bound ve­hi­cle as she stepped out into the “wide-open” lane, he said.

Hewko con­firmed the north­bound lane was mov­ing at a “snail’s pace,” while traf­fic in the south­bound lane was “spo­radic.” Po­lice are look­ing into whether this af­fected vis­i­bil­ity and speed be­fore the col­li­sion.

Luis said many young fam­i­lies have moved into the neigh­bour­hood re­cently and many have lost pets hit by cars. “It’s been hor­ri­ble.” Mauro Comi­tale, who also lives in the neigh­bour­hood, made sim­i­lar com­plaints, say­ing he’s called po­lice re­peat­edly about speed­ers and traf­fic on Evans.

Par­tridge said she’s well aware of the “over­whelm­ing” in­flux of traf­fic on Evans Road, es­pe­cially when there are driv­ers try­ing to avoid back­ups on the high­way, adding that the nar­row, two-lane road “can­not han­dle large vol­umes of traf­fic trav­el­ling at ex­ces­sive speeds.

“Ve­hi­cles rou­tinely use this al­ter­nate route to cut through Wa­ter­down putting res­i­dents at risk.”

A new Wa­ter­down by­pass will di­vert traf­fic trav­el­ling be­tween Dun­das and Park­side away from Evans and is un­der con­struc­tion as part of a new sub­di­vi­sion just west of Evans. It’s ex­pected to be done by next spring, Par­tridge said.

She’s meet­ing with staff this week to talk about other pos­si­ble “traf­fic calm­ing mea­sures” for Evans in the mean­time.

A Wa­ter­down Face­book group for moth­ers noted a me­mo­rial ser­vice is be­ing held at Isna Canada, 2200 South Sheri­dan Way, in Mis­sis­sauga on Thurs­day. The view­ing is at 12:30 p.m. to be fol­lowed by the ser­vice at 2 p.m.

Hamil­ton po­lice spokesper­son Const. Steve Wel­ton called it a “tragic in­ci­dent for an en­tire com­mu­nity.”

“Our thoughts are cer­tainly with the fam­ily and friends of the lit­tle girl right now.”

This is the city’s ninth traf­fic death and sec­ond pedes­trian killed this year.

Hewko de­scribed the scene as emo­tional and chaotic. He would like to hear from wit­nesses at 905546-4755.

NI­COLE O’REILLY, THE HAMIL­TON SPECTATOR

Flow­ers have been placed at the scene in Wa­ter­down where a 10-year-old girl was struck by a car on Tues­day.

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