Cape Breton Regional Police say there is no indication the driver of a vehicle that struck and killed a 17-year-old boy Sunday morning was impaired.
The collision happened on Highway 223 near Leitches Creek around 3:30 a.m. as the teen was walking home from a graduation party.
Police say they were called twice to a residence on the highway, at 1 a.m. and 3 a.m., about a large number of people with the potential for fights and impaired driving.
They also say they were making regular patrols of the area throughout the night.
Officers did arrest two people for public intoxication and one person for suspected impaired driving.
“At the time of the 3 a.m. call, responding officers decided to remain at the property to attempt to help ensure the safe departure of everyone leaving,” police said in a news release Wednesday.
“Officers did not enter onto the private property to disperse guests, but remained at the roadway and monitored people leaving to ensure drivers were sober.”
Police say it was at this point that a 911 call was placed about an injured man on the roadway, “a substantial distance down from the property of the gathering.”
“Based on first-hand observations from several officers at the scene, as well as further investigation, there is no evidence to indicate the driver of the vehicle was impaired,” the news release states.
Nathan Joneil Hanna, known as Joneil, was killed in the collision. His mother, Jenn Hanna, told local media her son had been bending over to tie his shoe as he walked home from the party.
According to his obituary, Hanna “was a proud father to his baby girl Harper and an amazing role model to his brothers and cousins.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up by the Grade 11 student’s family with the goal of raising $13,500 for expenses.
Traffic safety investigators and the Forensic Identification Unit are still reconstructing the collision and waiting for results of tests on the vehicle.
Police are reminding students and parents to celebrate graduations “safely and responsibly.”
They point out possession and consumption of alcohol under the age of 19 violates the Liquor Control Act, and that allowing drinking on private property “carries civil liabilities for any incidents that might happen as a result of the consumption of alcohol.”
— With a file from The Canadian Press.
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