Montreal police are seeking the public’s help in a brazen hit-and-run case to find the driver of a car who struck a baby stroller and dragged it through an intersection in Outremont last week.
The dramatic incident captured on surveillance footage shows a black car rolling through the corner of Bloomfield and Lajoie avenues while a woman pushes a baby carriage. The car, without stopping, slams into the stroller snatching it out of the woman’s hands and continues to drive off heading in the direction of Van Horne Avenue in broad daylight.
“The vehicle hit the carrier, dragged it for probably a couple of metres before leaving the scene, leaving the baby behind,” police spokesperson Raphaël Bergeron said in an interview Wednesday.
The one-year-old in the stroller was not injured in the incident.
A video was posted by Twitter user and Outremont resident Sarah Dorner, who said in the tweet she was “feeling shaken” after witnessing the hit and run.
According to witness accounts, police were told that the stroller got caught on the car’s mirror before getting loose several meters away.
Police were called to the scene but when they arrived the child was already sent to hospital, according to Bergeron.
The Outremont borough is home to a large Hasidic Jewish community. Bergeron confirmed the woman who was pushing the stroller is from the community, but the hit and run is not being treated as a hate crime “since nothing was said or exchanged during the incident.”
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B’nai Brith Canada said in a statement on Wednesday it was deeply disturbed by the video footage that seemed to depict the vehicle ramming into a Jewish Orthodox woman and the baby. The organization said it is keeping tabs on the police investigation.
The Council of Hasidic Jews of Quebec said in a news release they were horrified by the images captured by the surveillance camera. The council recommended that its members “take the greatest caution” before drawing any conclusions about “this unfortunate event.”
Police currently have no suspects in the incident. The video has since gained traction circulating online, which Bergeron said may help with identifying the driver.
“At the moment, the investigation has been transferred to the collision squad. We’re trying to identify positively the suspect’s vehicle and who was driving the vehicle at that time,” Bergeron said.
Outremont Mayor Laurent Desbois said on Twitter he is shocked by the video and is in communication with authorities.
“I hope we can identify the driver quickly,” Desbois wrote. “I’m relieved the child is doing well.”
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante called it an “unacceptable incident” on Wednesday, saying “the images of the driver accelerating in front of a mother and her baby are incredibly violent.”
Residents in the neighbourhood are also shaken by the event. Etienne de Villers-Sidani said authorities usually ask drivers to slow down in the area as the school year gets underway, but then “it comes back to the way it was.”
“We see that happening all the time. People are in a hurry to go to work,” he said.
François Furstenberg said near-misses between cars and pedestrians occur frequently at the intersection where the hit and run took place.
“People gun it to get to the speed bump and gun it again to the stop sign and they really don’t really slow down,” he said.
Anyone with information about the hit and run is asked to contact police.
— with files from The Canadian Press