No charges in crash that killed 8-year-old boy at St. Anne’s crosswalk
The driver in a fatal crash that killed an 8-year-old boy will not be facing charges.
Surafiel Musse Tesfamariam was with his mother on his way to school when he tried to cross St. Anne’s Road using the crosswalk and was hit by a vehicle travelling north on Feb. 13.
Winnipeg police said the child was taken to hospital in critical condition and later died from injuries.
“After a thorough investigation by members of the Traffic Collision Investigation Section, charges will be not laid as a result of this accident,” Winnipeg police said in a release Tuesday.
Days after Tesfamariam was killed, his mother spoke to Global News and said she wanted to see changes to the intersection — including changing the lights from orange to red and for the lights to be lowered so cars can see them better.
“I hope everyone should drive carefully and slowly,” Adiam Weldeyohannes said. “I hope the government or anyone responsible will do something about the place.”
Calls poured in for changes after the death of the Grade 3 student, said St. Vital Coun. Brian Mayes.
“I’ve been a councillor six and a half years,” Mayes told Global News in April. “This generated more calls and emails than just about any other issue.”
The original traffic study recommendation was made at the end of January, but since Tesfamariam’s death the committee is being asked to expand the scope to include a study of both north and south bound lanes, extending from Varennes Avenue northbound to St Anne’s Road and St Mary’s Road.
It is also recommended the expanded study include the consideration of enhancements to pedestrian safety at the intersection of St Anne’s Road and Varennes Avenue, including:
- replacing the crosswalk with a traffic light
- replacing the yellow signal lights with red flashing lights
- lowering the speed limit
- pruning nearby trees to improve visibility
- increasing warning signs near the intersection.
Not all of the recommendations considered by city council will be adopted, but Mayes said some will be put in place by the time school is back in session.
“The decision was made to go ahead and implement an experiment with moving the flashing lights lower,” he said. “My understanding is it will be in place for the school year and I think our staff want to make that happen as well.”
The trees lining the street will also be pruned back to improve visibility for drivers.
“Some people had called for a traffic light there, but it’s kind of a weird, off-kilter intersection — it’s not a really a true four way — so the staff didn’t think it was appropriate for a stop light,” Mayes said. “I think they’re right on that, but we had to do something.”
“The public basically said ‘Do something,’ and we are taking action.”
Tesfamariam was the third person to be killed at that intersection since 1981.
“I think there was a realization that having had three fatal accidents over thirty, forty years, there was something going on there,” Mayes said. “So the staff recommended, and I supported, changing it around from the usual crosswalk configuration and putting in the lower level flashing lights.”
WATCH: Winnipeg mom asking for crosswalk changes after 8-year-old son killed
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