A driver accused of hitting four people walking in a residential school march in Mission, B.C., over the weekend has turned himself in, local Mounties say.
The RCMP said the 77-year-old driver wasn’t taken into custody. His truck has been seized, however, and police said he’s co-operating with investigators.
The incident unfolded Saturday afternoon as a group of people participated in the March for Recognition for Residential Schools to the site of the former St. Mary’s Indian Residential School. Hundreds of children were taken from their families to that institution, which was operated by the Roman Catholic Church and later the federal government. It did not close until 1984.
Mounties said the march temporarily blocked the eastbound lane of Lougheed Highway. Police said when they arrived on scene following a report that a fight might break out, they learned “that a man driving a pickup truck had driven up through part of the demonstration, allegedly hitting four people while doing so, before driving away.”
Two people were taken to hospital with what police said were minor injuries.
Troy Ingraldi was doing traffic control for Saturday’s march.
“The truck came speeding up, there was children in the right-hand lane. I wanted to make sure the children were fine so I stepped in front of the vehicle,” he told CTV News. “He stopped, but then he continued to go and that’s when he ran me over.”
In its initial statement, Mission RCMP characterized the driver as “impatient” and said “there is no indication that this incident was targeted, or that the driver’s actions had anything specifically to do with the people marching or their cause.”
Police said in their update Monday they’re asking for more information from the public and any relevant dash-cam video. Mounties are also hoping to speak to the driver of a dump truck or semi truck, which is possibly blue, that was reportedly behind the Chevrolet Silverado as it passed the march.
“This has been a traumatizing event for the people involved in the March, as well as the wider community, and police are working hard to gather all of the evidence to help to bring some answers and some closure to everyone involved,” Const. Harrison Mohr said in a news release.
“Like any criminal investigation, we need to let the evidence guide the investigation, and that’s why we’re continuing to ask for more witnesses to come forward. We want to ensure that we present the best evidence possible for charge assessment by Crown counsel.”
March organizer Christopher Roberts said over the weekend the response from the RCMP has been frustrating. He told CTV News only one officer came to the scene at the time.
“There is actually quite a few very upset people. Especially because you know, this gentleman is still sitting at home,” he told CTV News on Sunday.
“The really upsetting part is, you know if it was myself or any of our other brothers that were behind the wheel and doing this to anyone else, we’d already be in jail and had the book thrown at us.”
With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Lisa Steacy