A 56-year-old White Rock woman is dead following a hit-and-run Wednesday night.
The incident occurred at Johnston Road and Thrift Avenue at around 9:40 p.m., as the woman crossed Johnston with her 28-year-old daughter in a marked crosswalk.
At a press conference Thursday afternoon, RCMP Sgt. Peter Thiessen said prior to the incident, the suspect vehicle – a 1992 Nissan Maxima – had been flagged to stop by a White Rock RCMP officer who was stopped on Johnston south of Thrift Avenue.
The Nissan continued north on Johnston, sideswiping a northbound vehicle before it entered the intersection, hitting and killing the female pedestrian. Her daughter was not struck.
Solmaz Sabeti was driving the car that was sideswiped. Visibly shaken, she told reporters Thursday she saw police lights just before her car was hit.
“It was so fast, I was shocked,” said Sabeti, who also witnessed the woman getting hit. “It’s horrible.”
Sabeti’s husband, Mostafa Sabeti, arrived on scene shortly after to see an officer administering CPR on the victim.
RCMP located a suspect vehicle abandoned at 160 Street and King George Boulevard, but had yet to locate the driver as of Peace Arch News’ deadline Thursday.
Witnesses say there was a considerable police presence at the scene Wednesday night, and sirens echoed through the city as RCMP searched for the driver.
Thiessen said White Rock RCMP has seized the suspect vehicle, and a search warrant is to be obtained to determine the registered owner.
“We’ve put significant resources into this – we’re confident, we’re very confident, we will secure an arrest in regard to this investigation,” he said, noting in a news release that the driver of the suspect vehicle is encouraged to come forward to “take responsibility for this tragic loss of life.”
A team of approximately 35 RCMP officers are investigating the criminal aspect of the incident, while the Vancouver Police Department is examining the actions of the RCMP officer who was present at the time and will determine if any further investigation is required.
Thiessen said the reason the White Rock officer flagged over the suspect vehicle is unknown at this time, as is whether the officer pursued the vehicle.
“It is not clear whether this was deemed to be a pursuit or not.”
Thiessen said the officer is “extremely distraught over the situation here and what has occurred,” and that the investigation is to determine whether there was any breach of policy.
“That is why we brought (the VPD) on, to make sure it is an open and transparent process.”
Anyone with information regarding the hit and run who has not spoken to an officer is asked to call the Surrey RCMP at 604-599-7890.