Nearly one week after a White Rock woman was killed by a hit-and-run driver, the person responsible for the tragedy has yet to come forward.
As flowers and tributes to Marilyn Laursen mark the corner of Johnston Road and Thrift Avenue – where she was struck as she crossed last Wednesday night – those who knew her are mourning the loss of a woman who lived life to its fullest.
“She was always happy and upbeat and had that great smile,” Maureen Harper, who worked with Laursen several years ago at the Abbotsford News, told Peace Arch News.
“She really embraced life and would try any adventure that came her way.”
Laursen, 56, died just before 10 p.m. May 18 as she crossed Johnston Road eastbound in the north crosswalk.
At the request of family members, police would not confirm the victim’s name, however a memorial tribute page set up on Facebook identifies Laursen as the woman who was killed that night.
According to police, the tragedy occurred just after a White Rock RCMP officer tried to flag over a 1992 red Nissan Maxima that was northbound on Johnston, south of Thrift. The Nissan driver failed to respond and continued north on Johnston at what police describe as “a high rate of speed.”
The car sideswiped a second northbound vehicle, before entering the intersection and striking Laursen, who was crossing with a 28-year-old uninjured woman.
Police found and seized a suspect vehicle shortly after, abandoned near 160 Street and King George Boulevard.
While police know who owns the vehicle, it remains unclear who was driving it at the time of the hit-and-run.
“We’re still trying to positively identify who was operating that vehicle at the time of the incident,” Sgt. Peter Thiessen told Peace Arch News Tuesday.
“We are aware who the registered owner is.”
Thiessen said as soon as police have enough evidence to confirm the driver “we would act on it very quickly.”
Surrey RCMP’s Major Crime Section is investigating the incident, supported by White Rock RCMP, the Integrated Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Service and the Integrated Forensic Identification Service. Approximately 35 officers are on the task.
At the same time, Vancouver Police Department is examining the actions of the White Rock RCMP officer and will determine if any further investigation is required.
Thiessen said the reason the White Rock officer flagged over the suspect vehicle is unknown at this time, as is whether the officer pursued the vehicle.
“It is not clear whether this was deemed to be a pursuit or not.”
Thiessen said the officer is “extremely distraught over the situation here and what has occurred,” and that the investigation is to determine whether there was any breach of policy.
“That is why we brought (the VPD) on, to make sure it is an open and transparent process.”
White Rock Mayor Catherine Ferguson described Laursen’s death as “senseless.”
“It’s just absolutely tragic,” Ferguson said. “Someone’s lost their mother, their wife, their friend.”
Tributes at the intersection speak further to the loss.
“I haven’t seen you for a while and I can’t believe I’ll never see you again,” writes one mourner. “You have touched so many lives and you will be in our hearts forever. Your laugh and smiling face I’ll never forget.”
Another note states: “You’ll always be with me mom. Love Annie.”
Anyone with information regarding the hit-and-run who has not already spoken to police is asked to call the Surrey RCMP at 604-599-7890.
– with files from Tracy Holmes