The images are disturbing, but traffic-camera footage of Monday’s hit-and-run in South Surrey leaves little doubt that whoever was driving the vehicle that struck two women in a crosswalk that night knew what had transpired.
And, police say it’s likely that an individual that can be briefly seen in the grainy video appearing to check on the injured women as they lay on the road was the driver.
“He appears in a fairly fast fashion, appears to touch them or at least lean over them… stay there for a split second and leave,” Cpl. Bert Paquet said Wednesday, during a news conference held to make the footage public.
“We believe this is the same person (who drove the vehicle ), but at this time, we can’t confirm. We’re not sure who that person is or what the goal was of his very short presence.”
Police released the footage to “generate some attention” that will help identify the vehicle and driver responsible for hitting Shelley Lammers and Nola Carlson as they jogged across 152 Street at 32 Avenue just before 8 p.m. Dec. 3.
Lammers, 51, was airlifted to hospital with what Paquet described as “severe” injuries, including a concussion, fractured ribs, a collapsed lung, two broken vertebrae and a lacerated liver.
Carlson, 54, was less seriously injured, suffering a broken nose and fractured cheek.
In the video, a white crossover vehicle is captured as it turns left off of 32 Avenue into the women. The vehicle shows no sign of braking, and doesn’t stop.
The unidentified individual appears in the picture about 25 seconds later (at the 35-second mark in the above video) then leaves; passersby stop to help within a minute after that.
Carlson, a South Surrey resident who works as a youth counsellor, told Peace Arch News Wednesday afternoon that she can’t believe anyone would leave a scene after causing so much damage.
“I honestly thought that Shelley was going to die,” she said, speaking in the hopes that her words will encourage the driver to come forward and other drivers to be more careful.
“I think it’s heinous… to leave a woman like Shelley on the ground and drive away. I’m appalled and I’m frightened – what’s the world coming to when these kinds of accidents happen and drivers just leave the person lying there?”
Carlson said she and Lammers had no warning before the vehicle hit but had done everything before setting out for their run to ensure they would be safe. They wore reflective clothing and headlamps, and Carlson remembers checking to ensure cars were stopped before they crossed.
The pair were at the tail-end of a six-kilometre run when the collision occurred. Lammers, who met Carlson a year ago through a running clinic, had agreed to pace a shorter route with Carlson, while others in their group ran eight kilometres.
Carlson said the vehicle hit Lammers, who flew into her. The impact sent Carlson face-first into the road.
She doesn’t recall the person seen briefly in the video at their side. She does remember the people who stopped to help.
Carlson described Lammers as “a much-loved girl” who always puts other people first. Even as she lay in the ambulance Monday night, Lammers sent someone to find out how Carlson was doing, she said.
Despite the horror of the experience, Carlson said she feels fortunate.
Good Samaritans came to their aid, and the paramedic who tended to her was a calming presence in the chaos.
“There were some kind people there, so I’m going to try to focus on that going forward,” she said.
She intends to get back to running as soon as possible but not without reservations.
“I’ll be terrified to run at night,” she said. “We did everything we were supposed to do to be safe.”
Paquet said police are continuing to examine the video footage for more information and asked that anyone who may have details on the vehicle or driver involved in Monday’s crash to contact Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502.
Noting that investigators have made “amazing” strides since the crash, he reiterated that it would be better for the driver to come forward on his or her own accord rather than wait until police knock.
“It is never too late to do the right thing,” he said.