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Parents of child killed in Bowness crash make statement on charges
Published Thursday, September 8, 2016 1:28PM MDT
Last Updated Thursday, September 8, 2016 7:10PM MDT
The family of a four-year-old girl who was struck and killed by a truck on a northwest street in May is speaking out now that charges have been laid against the driver.
Avayah Toulon was hit by a truck while crossing the street at 79 Street and 47 Avenue N.W. on May 6, 2016.
The little girl was treated at the scene but died from her injuries.
Witness accounts stated that the truck stopped at the intersection and then was driving through it when the little girl ran into its path.
Avayah’s father, Craig, disputes the witness reports and says she was walking in front of her parents when she was hit by the Ford F150.
“She was only a block away from our house in Bowness, returning from a walk to the Bow River with five siblings, her mother and me. At the time of the accident, four of her siblings were just a few feet ahead of her and their mother and me a few feet behind them. All children had stopped at the curb and waited for their mother’s permission to cross. They’re all aware of road safety. They walked slowly across the road in single-file and Avayah was last in front of us. I turned momentarily and I heard the scream of my wife. I turned back and saw the truck hit my poor Avayah,” he said.
Police have ruled out alcohol and speed as factors in the crash and on Wednesday charged Tanis Lambert, 38, with careless driving and operating an uninsured motor vehicle.
Craig Toulon says the driver of the truck did not hit the brakes and did not stop until flagged down by other pedestrians at the scene.
“The fact that the driver did not even try to stop has now been confirmed by an engineering expert. The initial press release from Calgary police claimed that my wife, Avayah’s mother, had waved to the driver indicating that the intersection was clear of pedestrians, this is a lie. That press release was terribly unfair to me and my family. It was made before the investigating officers had obtained statements from me or my wife, the primary witnesses to this collision.” said Craig.
He says that his family has endured an incredible amount of grief over the last four months while waiting for the investigation to be complete and that the charges are unacceptable.
“We are hopeful that this prosecution of the driver will aid us in dealing with the grief and the trauma. The driver has been charged under the Traffic Safety Act and not the Criminal Code of Canada. I find this unacceptable and regrettable. I am aware that in Canada the law rarely makes traffic fatalities a criminal matter in the absence of drugs or alcohol use, I maintain that the negligent driver of a motor vehicle that results in death should be criminalized in certain circumstances and that the facts in this case do warrant criminal charges,” said Craig. “When I Google this, it’s a traffic ticket. They could have given her, right when she was driving there, they could have given her this ticket.”
The family says the case has been mishandled and they are suing the driver.
“We’ve sued the driver on behalf of the family members under the Fatal Accidents Act,” said Attorney Stephen Nelson. “For bereavement, initially, and then for negligence, the negligent infliction of emotional distress.”
They have filed a statement of claim and Nelson says they don't believe a complete investigation was done.
“The police spoke before a complete investigation had been done and misinformation was given to the press and it has negatively impacted the family. They’ve had to answer to relatives and other people about this misinformation,” said Nelson.
Lambert is expected to appear in court on the charges on Wednesday, November 2, 2016.
A GoFundMe page has been established to help the family with expenses, click HERE for more information.