Toronto police have identified the alleged driver in a hit-and-run that badly injured a toddler, his mother and his grandmother over the long Thanksgiving weekend.
Sgt. Murray Campbell said Tuesday officers were seeking a warrant for the arrest of 34-year-old Derek DeSousa, whose whereabouts are unknown. He did not say on what charges DeSousa was sought.
Investigators are also looking to identify a man who was a passenger in the vehicle and is considered a person of interest in the case, Campbell said.
Police have since located and spoken with Amanda Rioux, 30, and Cory Munroe, 49, the two other persons of interest in this case.
Brent Dewell told Global News his 20-month-old son, 37-year-old wife and 57-year old mother-in law who is visiting from the philippines, were the ones hit.
“They were on their way to church when it happened where they were struck,” he said, adding officers called him and told him to get to SickKids hospital.
“I’m just glad that everybody walked out alive and my son doesn’t have life-altering injuries. He’ll still be able to play and he’ll still be able to be a normal kid. My wife and my mom-in-law, I’m sure they’ll take a very long time to recover but they’ll be fine.”
Officers have said a grey SUV ran a red light on Sunday, mounting the sidewalk and hitting the family, who were standing on the curb.
They said the child’s stroller was smashed to pieces and the car’s front licence plate was dislodged in the impact. The vehicle’s three occupants took off, one of them on foot, police said.
Police earlier released images of a man they said abandoned the vehicle in the city’s East York neighbourhood.
Toronto’s mayor said Tuesday there is nothing the city could have done to prevent the crash, noting the family members were “doing what they were supposed to do” – standing on the sidewalk, waiting their turn to cross the street – when they were struck.
John Tory added no government initiative could have stopped somebody driving in what he called “erratic circumstances.”
“It was a tragedy and I’m terribly sorry about it and I’m glad everybody seems to be recovering, but in this case it was not people who were crossing the street, they were standing on the curb,” he said.
Tory vowed earlier this year to lower speed limits and crack down on motorists who break traffic laws in an effort to reduce the number of pedestrian and cyclist deaths in the city.
The measures were part of an updated plan presented to city council over the summer, which also included other traffic-calming efforts such as changes to road design and additional crossings.
Pedestrian deaths reached a 10-year high in 2016, with 44 people killed that year. That number dropped slightly to 41 last year.
Meanwhile, a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign was launched by Dewell to help with care expenses.
— With files from Catherine McDonald and Oriena Vuong