Sud-Ouest Montrealers want to make streets safer after boy killed in collision
Hairdresser Catherine Ayotte wasn’t at work when an eight-year-old boy was killed last week in Montreal’s Sud-Ouest borough.
“I was at my house,” she says. “Usually I’m always here but last week I was sick so I decided to close the shop and go home and rest a little bit.”
A salon that she co-owns, Katou Koiffure, is right next to the scene of the accident.
Just before 8:30 p.m. on March 28, the boy was attempting to cross Laurendeau Street, just a few metres away from a four-way stop at Woodland Avenue in Ville-Émard. He was hit by a car and died later in hospital.
Ayotte says the accident is hard on the family.
“I have known them for 12 years,” she tells Global News while trying to make adjustments to a makeshift memorial set up at the scene of the accident. “I’m their hairdresser.”
Ayotte and neighbours want to use the accident as a wake-up call to drivers, because though police say its unlikely speed was a factor in the accident, they say that intersection and the street are dangerous and there have been several accidents.
“Usually people don’t make the stop [at Woodland],” says Ayotte. “They just pass through.”
Matthew Stone, who lives close to the intersection on Woodland, agrees. “Half the cars who you watch go through people are on their phone,” he says, adding that he almost got hit recently by a driver, on his phone, who ran the stop sign.
He says there are other problems too.
“Oh, people speed all the time down here,” he said.
René Lucier says he’s seen the same thing on streets in the area.
“They’re speeding like crazy,” he fumes. “People don’t take care and they think they’re alone on the road.”
Akram Salam lives just steps away from the accident scene. He explains that the neighbourhood has changed a lot in the 27 years since he moved in.
“There are now several more condos buildings and so the population has increased,” he points out. “And usually it’s a younger generation. With that there are more kids — and more traffic.”
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The residents want to see more safety measures put in place — like traffic lights at the Woodland and Laurendeau intersection. But they also want drivers to be more careful — especially with kids around.
“The seem to forget that a lot — that there’s a lot of children,” Ayotte says.
She’s helping the bereaved family cope and, with her colleague Isabelle Katou are trying to raise money for funeral and other expenses they may have because of the accident. They hope another family won’t end up losing a child.