Woman dragged for several blocks under vehicle in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

Click to play video: 'Woman dragged for blocks by vehicle in Downtown Eastside' Woman dragged for blocks by vehicle in Downtown Eastside
Vancouver police are appealing for information after a woman was struck and dragged by an alleged drunk driver of a van early Saturday morning. Julia Foy reports. – Oct 12, 2019

A woman is in hospital with life-threatening injuries after she was struck by a van and dragged for several blocks in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Vancouver police Const. Steve Addison said it happened around 12:30 a.m. Saturday around the area of Hastings Street between Columbia and Jackson streets.

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“Unfortunately, the driver of the vehicle that struck her did not realize that he had struck the pedestrian,” Addison said.

“It was only after the driver came to a stop at Columbia and Hastings when he realized that this collision had occurred and realized this woman was trapped on his vehicle or under his vehicle.”

The driver, a man from the U.S. in his 30s, was taken into custody but has been released as the investigation continues.

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Late Saturday night, a tweet from VPD said the victim has been identified as a 24-year old woman.

Police say impaired driving may have been a cause.

Click to play video: 'VPD investigate sixth pedestrian death of 2019 on Vancouver roads' VPD investigate sixth pedestrian death of 2019 on Vancouver roads
VPD investigate sixth pedestrian death of 2019 on Vancouver roads – Oct 3, 2019

Hastings Street has a 30 km/h speed limit, but residents and homeless advocates in the Downtown Eastside admit jaywalking is an issue.

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“We have seen on occasion some of our guests or people in the community with a near miss,” Jeremy Hunka with the Union Gospel Mission said, “and occasionally we do see pedestrian-involved incidents along this corridor.”

A woman who identified herself as Tina lives near the intersection where the driver came to a stop, and says it’s the third time she knows of someone getting hit in the area in the last month and a half.

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“There’s a million people out there,” she said. “You’d think somebody would have run after the guy or yelled or something.”

Hunka said he and the rest of the Downtown Eastside community is shocked by the incident and are hoping the woman recovers.

“The initial reaction is heartbreak and horror,” he said. “Just sounds horrifying that this could happen and heartbroken for this woman.”

Police are asking anyone with dashcam video or any other potential witnesses to call Vancouver police.

—With files from Julia Foy

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