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Crime

Two drivers charged in Burnaby crosswalk death of Brazilian exchange student

Two drivers are now facing charges after a 15-year-old Brazilian exchange student was struck and killed in a once notorious Burnaby crosswalk last January. Kristen Robinson reports.

Nearly one year after a young Brazilian exchange student was struck and killed in a notorious Burnaby crosswalk, two drivers have been charged under the Motor Vehicle Act.

The charges against 46-year-old Paul Oliver Wong and 58-year-old Kai Man Cheu were sworn by Crown Counsel in late November.

Wong is accused of two offences – driving without due care and attention, and failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

Cheu is also charged with driving without due care and attention and two other offences – unsafely passing on the left and crossing a solid double line.

On Jan. 17, 2018, 15-year-old Fernanda Girotto was fatally hit while using the crosswalk at Cariboo Road near the Highway 1 overpass.

READ MORE: 15-year-old girl dies after being hit by a car in Burnaby

In a news release at the time, Burnaby RCMP said a vehicle travelling northbound on Cariboo Road struck a 15-year-old female pedestrian – who was declared deceased at the scene. Police said the driver of the vehicle involved remained on scene and was cooperating with investigators.

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Global News reached out to Burnaby RCMP earlier this week for comment on the charges involving two different drivers.

WATCH: (Aired Jan. 18, 2018) More calls from the public to fix dangerous stretch of Burnaby road

More calls from the public to fix dangerous stretch of Burnaby road
More calls from the public to fix dangerous stretch of Burnaby road

Three days after the tragedy that claimed Girotto’s life, Amancio Hernandez was crossing the same section of Cariboo Road to attend church when he was mowed down by a hit and run driver.

Hernandez, who was sent to hospital with several fractures on his face, ribs, pelvis, knee and hand – was the third pedestrian to be hit at the crossing in four days.

The busy crosswalk is flanked by two churches, a bus stop and a housing co-op. Neighbours told Global News in January that they’d been calling for a pedestrian controlled traffic light at the intersection for more than one year.

READ MORE: Cyclist struck at same Burnaby crosswalk where teenage girl was killed Wednesday

In response to the traffic light request, Burnaby city staff produced a report in 2017 with recommendations to make the crossing safer.

Then-mayor Derek Corrigan said the city’s safety committee ultimately ruled that a light wasn’t warranted at the location, but that the situation would be reviewed again.

In late January, Burnaby councillor Pietro Calendino said a pedestrian activated light was installed along with other safety measures including warning signs to slow down traffic.

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WATCH: (Aired Jan. 22, 2018) Third person struck on Burnaby crosswalk in past week

Third person struck on Burnaby crosswalk in past week
Third person struck on Burnaby crosswalk in past week

“It’s always dangerous if motorists are not careful, you know,” said Calendino, who also serves as chair of the city’s Public Safety Committee.

“They have to drive with care and they have to ensure that they watch for pedestrians crossing.”

READ MORE: Notorious Burnaby crosswalk to get new lights, upgrades following multiple collisions

Calendino told Global News the new light is working but that the crosswalk is becoming busier and busier – and pedestrians should exercise vigilance.

“It’s not just the motorists, the pedestrians have to be even more careful. The traffic light is not going to save your life if you don’t watch for cars.”

Meantime, police are still trying to track down the driver who hit Hernandez on the evening on Jan. 20. Dash cam footage released by RCMP shows a black Dodge Charger fleeing the scene after Hernandez was struck.

Both Wong and Cheu are scheduled to appear in Vancouver Provincial Court on Mon. Dec. 17, exactly 11 months to the day Girotto was killed.

– With files from Simon Little

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