A 54-year-old gas station owner has died after being struck by a vehicle in a community southwest of Edmonton on Friday afternoon.
“It’s an unfortunate event, very unfortunate for the family and all involved,” RCMP Cpl. William Hiscock said. “There were a lot of witnesses and children in the area who witnessed it. Obviously, it’s horrible, it’s a traumatic experience for everyone involved.”
According to an official with Leduc County Fire Services, emergency crews were called to a collision involving a vehicle and a pedestrian on 52 Street in Thorsby at 3:41 p.m.
The RCMP said the collision occurred near the Thorsby Fas Gas and that a “medium-sized commercial vehicle was seen leaving the collision and has yet to be located.”
They described the crash as a hit and run.
“It seems to be stemming from an incident that occurred at the Fas Gas, a likely gas-and-dash related incident and currently we’re investigating all leads from that,” said Thorsby/Bretton RCMP detachment commander Corey Kyle.
“We have some really good surveillance footage from the gas station and one of our members that happened to be travelling in town at the same time had footage from her police car rolling.
Police said the driver of the suspect vehicle did not pay for their gas after fuelling up and as they drove away, the gas station owner tried to either stop the driver or gain their attention. Police said it was at that point the man was struck.
Kyle said the man was pronounced dead at the scene.
Shortly after 9:30 p.m., the RCMP released a photo of the suspect vehicle in the hit and run. They said it has “unique decaling” on the side of it. The photo can be seen below.
Area residents told Global News the man had owned the gas station for over a decade. They described him as a very kind man who was always helpful.
Thorsby’s deputy mayor called the crime “senseless” and hopes the suspects have a change of heart.
“They should turn themselves into the RCMP as soon as they can,” Lloyd Jardine said. “There’s no reason for it. You stole some gas.
Thorsby is Alberta’s newest official town. It has a population of about 1,000 people.
“It’s such a small town here,” resident Natasha Caron said. “Honestly, how would you expect anything like that to happen? Everything seems to be getting crazier around here and then this today was just ridiculous.”
The RCMP said its investigation is ongoing.
Anyone with information about the vehicle, the suspect(s) or the incident itself is asked to call the Thorsby/Bretton RCMP detachment at (780)789-3951.
Tips can also be anonymously submitted to Crime Stoppers by phone at 1-800-222-8477, or online.
Thorsby is located about 75 kilometres southwest of Edmonton.