It was eight months ago that Lily Grimwood was struck by a vehicle as she was walking home from school, but the injuries the 13-year-old sustained continue to plague her and her family.
“It’s been really hard,” Lily’s mother Patricia Grimwood said.
“You don’t think that an accident where your child isn’t killed and no bones are broken… you don’t think that it’s going to last this long and that it’s going to have this kind of an impact on your family.”
Lily was crossing 18 Avenue by Centre Street north in September 2017 when she was hit by a small SUV.
“The firemen had moved her from the middle of the road to the side of the road. She was screaming and crying and I just ran over to her and held her,” Grimwood said.
“Her pants were cut open and her shirt was stuck to her back with blood. I just sort of went numb and just went into disaster mode.”
Lily was taken to the hospital and treated for her injuries, but soon after Patricia said her daughter started suffering from concussion-related symptoms.
“She missed a lot of school, she was in a lot of pain, she had terrible headaches and vomiting,” Grimwood said. Lily no longer takes dance classes and says she still has pain in one of her legs.
“It’s been really hard on her. She was so bubbly and social and active and fearless and now she’s just not,” her mother said. “I’m just waiting to get my daughter back.”
The crash happened on a stretch of Centre Street where a woman was killed in a pedestrian collision two years ago.
Pedestrian safety advocates say it’s a complex place to cross because there are four lanes of traffic, which have rush-hour lane reversals, tucked between two intersections.
“It is exactly between two traffic lights at 20 Avenue and 16 Avenue,” Vision Zero Calgary co-founder Greg Hart said. “That creates what we call an ‘attention dead zone,’ because drivers are actually focussed on the upcoming traffic light more so than they are paying attention to things that are close to them.”
Hart cautions pedestrians about crosswalks which are activated by a button.
“If you watch pedestrian behaviour, they push those buttons and they automatically seem to think that the road is safe because we’ve kind of convinced them of that by giving them this crossing,” he said. “Unfortunately, this leads to pedestrians stepping out onto the road without waiting to see that everything is under control.”
Vision Zero is also calling for lower speed limits in the area.
Grimwood is thankful the driver involved in her daughter’s collision wasn’t speeding, something she says helped saved Lily’s life.
“I’m lucky to be going through this struggle, as ridiculous as that seems, because I still have her,” she said. “There are people who don’t have their kids at home anymore because of this.
“Everyone wants to get home to their families. It was a Friday. It was rush-hour. Take the time to slow down because you don’t know what impact your actions can have on other families. Lily was on her way home. ”
As for Lily, she says the memories of the incident are never far from her mind.
“It’s not anger. It’s more fear. I’m just scared for that to happen again,” Lily said.
A GoFundMe campaign has been started in hopes of raising money for the family.
According to the Calgary Police Service, there have been 144 collisions involving pedestrians so far in 2018, three of which involved fatalities. In 2017 there were 519 pedestrian collisions; 416 of those involved injuries and two people were killed.