Clayton Jones Sr. stood on the north side of Sheppard Avenue, east of Pharmacy Avenue, where a makeshift memorial of flowers for his daughter Celeste Jones has been erected since she was killed here a year ago. On his t-shirt is her picture with the words “Justice for Celeste” written along his back.
Clayton said for the first five or six months, he came to the site of the fatal collision daily. But now he said he comes once a week. Clayton said he is still hopeful for an arrest in the case despite the tireless effort of Toronto Police traffic services officers and believes someone knows who is responsible.
“I think they’re doing themselves a great injustice to keeping it secret. It’s something that they really need to come forward and call. It’s something that could be done anonymously,” explained Jones.
“Call the Toronto Police Service and give them the tip that they need because without this I don’t think they will break this case. They don’t have the resources to go after every car.”
It was on Aug. 30, 2019, at around 10:30 p.m. when police were called to the corner of Sheppard Avenue and Abbotsfield Gate. Celeste, a 34-year-old who lived in the neighbourhood, was struck by a westbound car as she was crossing the street midblock to get to a bus stop on the north side of the street.
By the time police arrived, the suspect vehicle had fled the scene. Jones was rushed to hospital where she was pronounced dead.
A week later, police released grainy surveillance video showing what appeared to be a grey Mitsubishi Lancer with distinctive fog lights speeding off. In late October, they also filmed a Crime Stoppers reenactment video in the hope of generating tips. Police said the case remains active.
For Clayton, he said his life is on hold as he waits for news of an arrest.
“I haven’t done much in terms of living, I’ve just existed,” he explained, thankful for all those who have helped in the ongoing effort to help find the driver who fled the scene.
“Initially I was like, ‘Accidents happen, it’s OK, the person will come forward and we’ll get through this,’ but then after I got really angry.”
Clayton said he believes life will improve when someone is arrested.
“I don’t think you can experience closure in this case but I think it will give me some comfort that the person we can take them to justice, even if they get five or six months, even if they don’t, I can identify who that person was,” he said.