A Saanich girl was seriously injured after she was struck by a vehicle shortly after 8 a.m. Wednesday at the intersection of Ash Road and Torquay Drive.
Eleven-year-old Leila Bui is in Grade 6 at Arbutus middle school and was hit by Mercedes sports utility vehicle travelling eastbound on Ash Road, while crossing Torquay Drive near the crosswalk. Saanich Police believe she was then struck by a late-model sedan travelling westbound on Ash Road. Both cars remained on the scene.
The girl was hit coming out of her own driveway, in front of her house. It’s unknown if she was on the crosswalk or near it.
The girl’s grandfather, Andy Bui, said she was crossing the street to be picked up on the other side of Ash Road for a ride to school when she was struck.
The girl was rushed by ambulance to Victoria General Hospital in serious condition, according to Saanich Police Sgt. Jon Zielinski, who was at the scene.
“She was laying on the middle of the road,” Bui said. “She was unconscious, but breathing.”
Ash Road remained closed for much of the day from Majestic to Tyndall, and Torquay was also not accessible at Ash Road, while a Saanich traffic analyst team investigated.
It’s unknown if speed was a factor.
“Roads were a little bit slick due to the cold weather but it was a bright clear morning. We’ll wait for these facts to be discovered,” Zielinski said.
As neighbours gathered to learn what had happened, they debated the safety of the intersection.
Bui said he believes Ash Road should be a four-way stop. The speed limit is 50km/h on Ash Road, which does not have stop signs at the intersection with Torquay. Motorists do have a stop sign at Ash when approaching on Torquay.
Bui said he had called Saanich to complain about one tall arbutus tree in particular that leans over Ash Road and blocks the view to the entrance to the intersection when approaching eastbound.
“You can’t see the intersection because of the tree, and it’s on top of a hill,” said Bui, who lives in a house on the corner of the intersection.
Neighbour Susan Settle called it a bad intersection and said she’s wanted the large arbutus trees that stand close to the intersection removed for years.
Another neighbour said he has asked Saanich to install a pedestrian-controlled crossing light at the crosswalk.
The intersection had a motor vehicle incident as recently as Monday, when a truck collided with a BC Transit bus at about 4 p.m. The pickup was travelling south on Torquay and the bus west on Ash. The pickup began to turn right and was knocked off the road into a hedge.
The District of Saanich released a statement on Wednesday that the pedestrian crossing and intersection of Ash and Torquay were already scheduled to be reviewed in January.
“A request to make improvements to the pedestrian crossing at the Ash Road and Torquay Drive intersection was recently brought to the attention of the municipality from the Gordon Head Residents’ Association,” said spokesperson Megan Catalano. “The intersection is scheduled to be reviewed at the administrative traffic committee meeting in January. We will work closely with Saanich Police to incorporate the factors of [Wednesday’s crash] into our review of the intersection improvements.”
The administrative traffic committee includes senior members of the Saanich Police and Engineering departments and is responsible for reviewing traffic concerns in the municipality.