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‘An alarmingly high year’: Fatal crashes up drastically in 2022, according to Winnipeg police

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Fatal collisions up in Winnipeg
Fatal collisions in Winnipeg have risen since last year and it has some who have been directly impacted calling for more awareness. Marney Blunt reports – Oct 20, 2022

The number of serious and fatal crashes in the city has risen drastically in 2022, according to Winnipeg police.

So far, there have been 30 serious collisions in the city this year and 21 fatalities — a significant increase from 2021, when nine people died on Winnipeg streets.

“It has been an alarmingly high year,” Winnipeg Police Service Traffic Unit Staff Sgt. Rob Hutter told Global News.

“And it’s concerning because you want the public to be able to go out and use the roadways safely, and when you see these incidents happening, that’s something that anybody would want to avoid.”

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Out of the 21 fatalities this year, 10 have involved pedestrians and there have been three cases where drivers have failed to remain on scene, including a recent hit on run at Portage Avenue and Berry Street that took the life of a 24-year-old woman.

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Kevin Joss’ son Cody died in a pedestrian hit and run at Inkster Boulevard and McGregor Street in December 2014. The driver in that case still hasn’t been identified or arrested.

Kevin Joss lost his son in a fatal hit and run on Inkster Boulevard nearly eight years ago. Marney Blunt / Global News

Joss says seeing the recent fatal crashes in the city brings the pain surging back.

“It’s a nightmare that we live every day and it affects you every day when you hear of others that are losing their lives,” Joss told Global News Thursday.

“It takes you back to day one every time you hear on the news that some else has lost their life.”

Joss wants to see more public awareness on the importance of sharing the road safely, and raise awareness on unsolved hit and run cases.

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“It’s frustrating because there’s no need for it,” he said. “Yes, accidents do happen, but so many of these could have been preventable by changing your own actions. Whether you’re a driver, whether you’re a pedestrian.”

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Joss says he wants to share his message and story of heartbreak in hopes others will think twice before getting behind the wheel.

“It’s a simple choice that you can make,” Joss said. “You’re licensed to drive a vehicle, 2,000 to 5,000 pounds, sometimes more, it’s a killing machine. You have to be in control of it.”

Cody Joss died in a hit and run at Inkster Boulevard and McGregor Street in December 2014. Marney Blunt / Global News

In 2021, six pedestrians died in vehicle crashes in Winnipeg, including two cases where drivers failed to remain on scene.

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Karen Wiebe, the executive director of the Manitoba Organization for Victim Assistance (MOVA), says that’s something families will never get over.

“When a life is taken that should not have been taken, and nobody takes responsibility for that, that leaves a very difficult situation for families,” Wiebe said.

“The difficulties for families are huge. And in some cases, they’re almost insurmountable.”

MOVA primarily supports families of the victims of homicide, but Wiebe says the impacts of an unsolved hit and run are equally as devastating.

“(My driving) tester said to me 50 years (ago), ‘I’ve given you a licence to kill’,” Wiebe said. “And when you think of the impact of a vehicle, weighing so many pounds, hitting a human body that is so fragile, the effect is never going to be something that can be overlooked, and most often, not something that is completely ever gotten over.”

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