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15-year-old girl dies after being hit by car in West Island

·3 min read
A resident who lives near where the collision occurred on Thursday says Lalande Boulevard has no sidewalk or bike lane, yet is very busy with pedestrians and cyclists. (Simon-Marc Charron/Radio-Canada - image credit)
A resident who lives near where the collision occurred on Thursday says Lalande Boulevard has no sidewalk or bike lane, yet is very busy with pedestrians and cyclists. (Simon-Marc Charron/Radio-Canada - image credit)

A 15-year-old girl has died after being hit by a car in the West Island on Thursday, Montreal police confirmed.

The incident happened Thursday on Lalande Boulevard near near the Saraguay Street intersection in Pierrefonds.

According to police spokesperson Const. Jean-Pierre Brabant, the girl was walking in the westbound direction at around 8:30 a.m. when a car, driven by a 59-year-old man, slammed into an electrical pole.

The vehicle redirected into the girl who was walking on the shoulder. There is no sidewalk on that section of Lalande.

The car then careened into an eastbound vehicle before finally coming to stop. The 15-year-old was unconscious at the scene, and was transported to hospital before succumbing to her injuries.

The 59-year-old man driving the first vehicle was treated for minor injuries and shock, according to Brabant. The driver of the second vehicle, a 66-year-old woman, was not hurt.

The cause of the crash is unknown, and police are investigating.

Simon-Marc Charron/Radio-Canada
Simon-Marc Charron/Radio-Canada

Street has 'always been a danger to public'

According to some West Island residents who live nearby, it's a street that neighbours have long said is not safe.

With three schools nearby, Samira Maazouz said there are always kids riding their bikes and plenty of pedestrians on the street.

"The street is very narrow, and there is no space dedicated to cyclists and there is no space dedicated to pedestrians," said Maazouz.

She said it has "always been a danger to the public. This is not new."

Radio-Canada
Radio-Canada

When she heard the commotion from the accident on Thursday morning, Maazouz said her first thought was for her own kids, who had left for school by bicycle.

She said the nearby sound of screeching brakes and crunching metal alarmed her.

"It was a big, big, big noise," she told Radio-Canada. "I ran outside quickly and the moment I exited the door, I immediately heard a woman screaming extremely loud."

The narrow, house-lined boulevard runs parallel to a wide, lake-like section of the Rivière des Prairies.

There is no sidewalk, but instead a gravel shoulder that cuts into the manicured front lawns of the waterfront homes. There is no parking on the street, which has wooden electrical poles along its northern edge.

Maazouz said neighbours have tried to get the city to improve the street's safety, possibly making it one-way on half the street and reserving the second half for people on foot or bike, but little has changed.

Whenever her kids leave the house, she said, "I am always scared."

Borough has been working on making area safer

A document found on Montreal's website shows discussions about improving the road's safety date back to at least 2016 when the borough presented plans to enhance pedestrian and cyclist safety while reducing the impact of spring flooding.

Pierrefonds-Roxboro Mayor Dimitrios "Jim" Beis said the borough, police and city have been reviewing the issues with the street for years, but space constraints and environmental restrictions have stood in the way of making it wider.

He said the borough has asked to increase patrols and they "were present, however this is an ongoing issue."

CBC
CBC

There were changes to the signs, redirecting motorists to other streets, but drivers still use it as a through-street. Now he is calling for a special meeting next week between the local police and city officials to take a hard look at this problem and search for solutions.

The idea of making the road one-way may be looked at again, he said, once all the facts are gathered surrounding this collision and officials further examine the issue. Beyond that, the issue of speeding and careless drivers is widespread and needs to be worked on everywhere, he added.

"It's tragic any way you look at it and my thoughts and prayers go out to the family at this time," Beis said. "No family, no community, should have to go through this tragedy."

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