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‘It’s tragic’: Squamish comes together for family that lost 2-year-old in parking lot crash

Click to play video 'Squamish toddler killed by car in grocery store crosswalk' Squamish toddler killed by car in grocery store crosswalk
A two-year-old Squamish girl is hit and killed by a car at a local grocery store parking lot. The tragic accident Friday night has left the community heartbroken. Nadia Stewart reports. – Feb 29, 2020

Flowers and stuffed animals now mark the site outside a Squamish grocery store where a two-year-old girl was killed after she and her mother were struck by a driver Friday night.

The pair were leaving the Independent Grocer on Garibaldi Way around 6 p.m. when they were struck in the parking lot. The child died of her injuries.

Click to play video 'Child dies after being struck by vehicle in Squamish' Child dies after being struck by vehicle in Squamish
Child dies after being struck by vehicle in Squamish – Feb 29, 2020

Glenn Davies, the lead pastor for the Rock Church where the family are members, told Global News Saturday that the mother — who suffered minor injuries in the collision — is having the hardest time.

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“They let her hold her baby, her little girl, for the whole night” in hospital, he said. “The most challenging issue was letting [her daughter] go this morning.

“She’s emotionally quite distraught and really, really having a hard time dealing with the reality of what’s happened.”

READ MORE: 2-year-old killed, mother in hospital after getting struck by car in Squamish

With the parents back at home, Davies said the entire community has come forward offering support, which the “tight-knit” family is grateful for.

“I mean, I knew that our church family would do this, and every other church in this community has been supportive as well,” he said. “But I also knew that this community is amazing in this way.”

A GoFundMe to support the family financially has already surpassed its goal of $10,000 after getting launched Saturday morning.

READ MORE: Vancouver family identified in Alberta crash that killed boy, injured 4

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Davies said those and other efforts are helping the family and those around them cope with the loss.

“It’s tragic,” he said. “It’s really hard to understand and explain. And so we’re just trying to comfort and assist the family as best we can.”

Acting mayor Armund Hurford said the entire town has been impacted and has watched residents supporting each other as well.

“Even on social media, seeing people checking in with each other, saying ‘I’m OK, thank you for asking,’ the whole community is affected by just the thought of this tragedy,” he said.

Residents who visited the growing memorial in the parking lot Saturday said the tragedy hit close to home.

“We drive through here all the time,” one father who arrived with his young daughter said. “It’s a lot of young families who live here, so we’re feeling it.”

READ MORE: Alberta man, child killed in Highway 5A crash near Kamloops, B.C.

Carrie Winstanley, a mother of four, said she was “hurting” for the family.

“I think that’s a pretty hard day, tragic day for them,” she said.

Those and other residents said drivers routinely travel fast through the parking lot, which is close to the Sea-to-Sky Highway.

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Hurford wouldn’t speak to whether council would consider implementing traffic calming measures there, saying the lot is under the jurisdiction of the province and the Motor Vehicle Act.

However, he said the results of the police investigation could inform future developments.

READ MORE: Woman, child from Florida killed in snowmobiling incident near Golden, B.C.

“A tragedy like this can only trigger change, positive change, wherever possible,” he said, adding council has already worked to reduce speed limits in some areas along with other traffic calming measures where possible.

“Our work is ongoing and this is another reminder of how important that work is.”

Squamish RCMP are continuing to investigate the circumstances around the crash and say the driver is cooperating.

Davies said no matter what kind of safety improvements come out of the tragedy, he’s not looking to cast any blame over what happened.

“We’re really asking people to pray and pull [the driver] up as well, because they’re struggling, obviously, with what happened in what is looking like a complete accident,” he said, adding weather may have played a factor.
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“It was a dark and rainy night … and I think the best thing we can do is just focus on supporting the family.”

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B.C. woman guilty of dangerous driving in crash that left 11-year old girl with brain damage – Jan 27, 2020