The driver of a vehicle that was involved in a horrific pedestrian collision on the Downtown Eastside last weekend was a member of a touring U.S. punk band, Global News has confirmed.
The crash, which saw 24-year-old Desiree Evancio dragged for multiple blocks, left her with life-changing injuries.
Minneapolis-based band Off With Their Heads was performing at the SBC Restaurant at Hastings and Columbia on Friday, Oct. 11, before the collision.
The following day, the band cancelled upcoming shows in Seattle and Portland, and on Wednesday posted to Facebook that it was cancelling its entire North American tour.
“Unfortunately, I have to make the call to cancel the remaining dates of our North American tour. We are all waiting for more information to come to light. Until that happens, I don’t feel comfortable carrying on playing live shows,” wrote band frontman Ryan Young.
“Due to the sensitive nature of an accident a band member was involved with, I can’t elaborate any more than that. When I can, I will definitely do so.”
Global News has reached out to the band and to Young for comment.
WATCH: Off With Their Heads performs at the SBC Restaurant in Vancouver
Many of the band’s fans have replied to the Facebook post urging people to use ticket refunds from the cancelled tour to support a GoFundMe for Evancio’s recovery.
According to Vancouver police, the victim was struck around 12:30 a.m. on Saturday, somewhere between Jackson Street and and Columbia Street on East Hastings.
VPD Const. Steve Addison said the driver, a man in his 30s from the U.S., had gone to retrieve the vehicle from Jackson Street, and “was returning to Hastings and Columbia when the collision occurred.”
Police said the driver only realized that the Evancio was was trapped under the vehicle when he stopped the van.
The driver was taken into custody but has since been released, and Addison said he doesn’t know if he is still in B.C.
“He’s absolutely free to continue on with his life and go where he needs to go until the time comes, if it comes that there’s a significant development in the case,” said Addison.
“We believe that the driver had a degree of alcohol impairment, I can’t speak to what level that alcohol impairment was. Our investigation is trying to determine what role, if any, that alcohol impairment had in the tragic incident.
Addison said in order to keep the driver in Canada they would have to have enough evidence to charge him, which police do not have at this stage of the investigation.
He said police have no reason to believe the man would not return to B.C. if he was required to.
Evancio has been left with devastating injuries, including the loss of an eye, massive facial trauma and a potential loss of complete mobility in one arm and one leg.
She has already undergone four surgeries, and surgeons have told her sister they may want to try a face transplant — something never before performed in B.C.
Supporters have started a fundraiser with a $1 million goal, out of concern the U.S. driver’s insurance may not cover her life-long medical and rehabilitation needs.