Woman dies after being hit by pickup truck in Abbotsford – CBC.ca

Woman dies after being hit by pickup truck in Abbotsford - CBC.ca
Dead after hit by pickup – BC News
Abbotsford Emergency Services responded to a collision in the 30000 block of Fraser Highway at approximately 2:30 a.m. PT. 

Fraser Highway was closed between Ross Road and Mt. Lehman Road for several hours while Abbotsford police investigated.

The Abbotsford Police Department says the 37-year-old woman had already succumbed to her injuries when emergency services responded to the vehicle-pedestrian collision at 2:20 a.m.

It happened at around 2:20 in the morning on Sunday in the 30000 block of Fraser Highway. Police say a 37-year-old woman was struck and killed by a pickup truck.

They say the driver, who did not sustain any injuries, reported the accident, remained on scene and is co-operating with investigators.

ABBOTSFORD (NEWS 1130) – Police in Abbotsford are investigating a fatal collision involving a pedestrian and a pickup truck.

Police say the cause is yet to be determined, and the woman's name will not be released at this time.

Environment Canada is warning of potentially hazardous driving conditions in parts of B.C. as a spring snow falls over southern mountain passes.

Police closed the highway off between Ross Road and Mount Lehman Road while they investigated. The road has since reopened.

The national weather forecaster issued a special weather statement as the spring snow continued into Sunday.

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The flurries may result in five to 10 centimetres of snow over the Coquihalla Summit, Allison Pass, Paulson Summit and Kootenay Pass.

DriveBC has been reminding drivers that winter tires or chains are required until April 30 on select highways, including mountain passes and rural routes in high snowfall areas.

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It was a day Heather Hobbs recalls vividly: the staff at AIDS Vancouver Island had pulled another overdose victim from the washroom, his body was blue from a lack of oxygen.

On April 10, 2019, at approximately 11:50 p.m., police responded to a single-vehicle crash on Ensley Drive.

The man was revived and they closed the office in Victoria to allow staff to regroup. At the same time, in an alley just a half a block away, another of their clients was dying from an overdose.

Hobbs said she remembers seeing the man leave the facility as they began cleaning up from the overdose. His death was the tipping point for the implementation of an overdose prevention site at their facility, even though they weren't yet legal, she said.

"I feel like it's possible, had we not had to have closed, that he would still be alive. So it's those moments that stick with me and really drive it home that these spaces are essential in terms of keeping people alive," said Hobbs, who is the manager of harm reduction services for AIDS Vancouver Island.

In April 2016, the B.C. government declared a public health emergency in the overdose crisis, allowing for the unprecedented implementation of the prevention facilities. Within weeks, 20 sites had mushroomed around the province.

A new study by researchers at the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research concludes the rapid implementation of the sites should be used as a template for other governments to save lives.

The study says the quick response of the provincial government and community groups is an "international example of an alternative to the lengthy and cumbersome sanctioning processes for (supervised consumption sites.)"

The report, published this month in the International Journal of Drug Policy, says other government demands for public consultations and an intensive application process "are highly questionable in the context of legal drug poisonings and evidence-based alternatives such as (overdose prevention sites.)"

Health Canada approves the supervised consumption sites, which require an exemption from federal drug laws, while the overdose prevention sites in B.C. are sanctioned under the provincial health minister's declaration of a public health emergency.

Bruce Wallace, co-author of the report, a scientist at the institute and an associate professor at the University of Victoria, said the study demonstrates how unnecessary the approval process is elsewhere.

"Our research is showing that the benefits of being able to have overdose prevention sites at so many different locations and really integrated with housing, health and social support is a model to go for, rather than going back to the federal processes, which are more onerous to set up and more limited in scope."

The BC Coroners Service said 991 people died of illicit drug overdoses in 2016, 1,486 died the next year and 1,510 were killed by illicit drugs in 2018. The dramatic rise in deaths coincides with emergence of the powerful opioid fentanyl, which the coroner says is responsible for the majority of illicit drug deaths.

Canada's Public Health Agency said last week that 3,286 people died of apparent opioid-related deaths between January and September last year.

The report draws on interviews from staff at three of the prevention sites in Victoria to determine their impact.

Wallace said he's frustrated that other jurisdictions in Canada aren't adopting the same innovate practices to save lives, especially because they've been warned that dangerous opioids are moving into their provinces.

"So to have that level of warning of the potential harm and not act, it's really tragic that people would not take these lessons and adopt them as fast as they can in other jurisdictions."

The Ontario government announced in late March that while 15 overdose prevention sites had been approved, six others would close, including three in Toronto.

Judy Darcy, B.C.'s mental health and addictions minister, said there are about 40 overdose prevention sites across B.C. with over one million visits. Thousands of overdoses have been reversed and there have been no deaths at the sites, she added.

Darcy said it's estimated the government's actions, including the prevention sites, take-home naloxone kits and other prevention measures, have saved about 4,700 lives.

She said the prevention sites are a critical tool that also connect visitors to other supports, such as housing or treatment. But the stigma remains, Darcy said, and that is the next barrier to knock down.

"For too long we have treated mental health, mental illness as a sign of weakness and addiction as a character failure and as a sign of moral failure," she said. "These centres don't judge people. They're there to save lives, they're there to connect people to the social supports they need."

Kamloops RCMP are investigating after a report of an armed robbery that took place in the area of University Drive and College Drive at approximately 1:00 a.m.Sunday.

A lone individual was approached by three males and ordered to hand over some of his personal items. During the interaction, a small black pistol was produced by one of the suspects. After handing over the property, the victim ran off to contact police.

The three male suspects are described as mid 20’s, caucasian, wearing black clothing, last seen on foot in a  along the Summit Connector.

Anyone with information regarding the suspects is asked to contact the Kamloops Detachment at 250-828-3000.

“Situations such as this remind us of the rare; however, real possibility of being the victim of this type of crime. In this case, the victim handed his property over as directed and was not harmed.''

''The property we own is most often replaceable. Our wellbeing and personal safety should remain the priority,” said Sgt. Brandon Buliziuk.

VANCOUVER – Cindi Phelps never imagined herself running a pot shop. She smoked weed as a teenager, but as an adult she says she became "cranky" about cannabis, endlessly lecturing her kids and judging everyone who touched the stuff.

It was only when she neared 50 that she realized marijuana could soothe her pain from a chronic health issue. Now that she manages the Tamarack Cannabis Boutique in Kimberley, B.C., Phelps can relate to customers who are nervous about trying pot for the first time in decades — or ever.

About 15 to 20 per cent of her customers fall into this category, and most are baby boomers, she said.

"They had their kids. They had their family. Now they're retired and they'd like to try it again," she said. "It's legal, they don't feel they're going to get arrested for it."

When Canada legalized weed on Oct. 17, 2018, it wasn't clear how it would affect the stigma around cannabis or the habits of non-marijuana users. Six months later, early data and interviews with store operators suggest a considerable number of Canadians are lighting up for the first time.

Nearly 14 per cent of cannabis users surveyed by Statistics Canada from mid-November to mid-December had just begun using weed within the previous three months. The period they were asked about includes time before and after legalization, but the percentage of new users jumped noticeably compared with previous quarters, when they ranged from 4.7 to 7.8 per cent.

The agency found that new users spanned all age groups. However, use among people aged 24 to 35 declined slightly in the months as legalization was unfolding, while it grew among all age categories above 35.

Legalization has drawn a whole new segment of people who prefer to use legal cannabis and are willing to pay more for it, said Jennifer Lee, the lead partner managing the cannabis sector for consulting firm Deloitte.

"Government oversight does bring a whole new cohort to the market," she said. "They could have tried it on the black market. They just chose not to, because they wanted to know it was a safe product."

Generally, she said her research has shown that people over 55 are most enticed by this market, because they dabbled in marijuana years ago and can afford to pay more for legal weed.

People with no cannabis experience often ask for cannabidiol, also known as CBD, a non-psychoactive extract that is used to treat pain and anxiety, said Mike Babins, owner of Evergreen Cannabis in Vancouver.

"They come in here saying, 'I have no desire to get high. I just want CBD,' " Babins said. "And we say, 'Why? What's so wrong with being high? Do you think it's like all those old propaganda movies and you're going to think you're a bird and you're going to jump out the window with all the pretty colours and your family will find you dead on the front lawn?' "

Sometimes people still want to stick with CBD, but for those who are willing to try cannabis containing THC, the mind-altering ingredient, staff guide them toward lower-dose products and advise them to start slow and enjoy their experience, he said.

Customers have said they've been waiting for it to be legal and they're tired of drinking too much alcohol at night, Babins said.

"They have a whole bottle of wine after dinner instead of a glass of wine with dinner," he said. "A lot are just saying, 'I have too much stress and I've been dealing with it the wrong way.' "

Many first-timers or first-time-in-a-long-timers wind up becoming repeat customers, Babins and other store owners said.

Statistics Canada data also indicates former users are considering picking up the habit again. The most recent survey found 19 per cent of Canadians think they will use cannabis in the next three months, compared with the 15 per cent who are current users.

Former users were more likely to report that they will use than people who had never used — 13 per cent compared with 2 per cent.

Krystian Wetulani, founder of City Cannabis Co., said his two licensed locations in Vancouver have seen a huge uptick in customers aged 45 to 65 since they started selling legal cannabis.

People in this age group seem to feel more comfortable now because they know the cannabis is tested to meet Health Canada standards, he said, and they don't have to sign their name to anything, such as a medical-dispensary membership card.

Toronto's first legal cannabis store The Hunny Pot has also seen a "huge influx" of first-time consumers, including locals and tourists, since it opened two weeks ago, said communications officer Cameron Brown.

As for those who haven't used cannabis for decades, they're surprised by how much variety there is now, he said.

"(We're) making sure that we're going through all the different steps with them, talking about the different THC levels, talking about the different strains and how they affect different people, but still trying to find what will work best for them."

A former member of a fundamentalist sect testified Friday about growing up in a British Columbia community that practises polygamy at the trial of man charged with the alleged removal of a girl from Canada in 2004 to marry a man in the United States.

The Crown witness told B.C. Supreme Court she left the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Bountiful seven years ago.

"The only honourable way to leave the FLDS is to die and I've known that since I was a baby," she testified at the trial by judge alone.

"I knew there was no one in the world who could help me," she said. "There wasn't a lawyer, there wasn't a policeman, there was no one that could help me leave Bountiful and still be able to have my children."

James Oler is charged with removing a 15-year-old girl from Canada to marry a member of the fundamentalist sect in the U.S.

He was acquitted in 2017 by a judge who was not convinced Oler did anything within Canada's borders to arrange the 15-year-old girl's transfer to the U.S. But the Appeal Court agreed with the Crown that proof of wrongdoing in Canada was not necessary and ordered a new trial.

The Crown witness said she was taught by religious leaders to fully obey the family priesthood head — her father as a girl, and her husband after she was married.

Women were taught that bearing children and living in plural marriages was essential to achieving the highest level of celestial glory, she said. Disobedience could put eternal salvation at risk and lead to excommunication from the community, she added.

In his opening statement, special prosecutor Peter Wilson alleged that Oler should have reasonably expected the girl would be placed in a relationship of dependency that would facilitate sex offences.

Court has heard the marriage was documented by priesthood records kept by Warren Jeffs, the church's president and prophet. The records were seized after U.S. law enforcement raided the Yearning for Zion ranch in Texas a decade ago.

One priesthood record describes a phone call that Jeffs made to Oler, allegedly asking him to bring the girl to the United States to be married.

The Vancouver Park Board is facing calls to cancel the upcoming pro-marijuana 4/20 rally, following criticism from other event organizers. 

The Sun Run, another annual event, pays its own way, while the 4/20 has historically left behind a huge cost to taxpayers for policing and cleanup.

"We should all be on the same level playing field,” Sun Run race director Tim Hopkins told CTV News Vancouver. “There shouldn't be deals given to different organizations."

The Sun Run pays for use of Stanley Park as well as police services, but the city says 4/20 organizers don't do the same. 

2017's rally cost taxpayers $245,000, and 2018 was around the same, with organizers paying back around $63,000, CTV reports. 

“As taxpayers, we already pay for the policing in this city,” said 4/20 organizer and pro-cannabis advocated Jodie Emery. “No event should have to pay twice for the policing work.”

Traditionally called "protest," the 4/20 rally at Sunset Beach is facing further questions now that recreational marijuana use is legal. The event is planned at Sunset Beach this year with a Cypress Hill concert expected to draw in even bigger crowds.

"What I’m really hoping is the 4/20 – what was originally deemed a protest – will eventually turn into a trade show,” he said.

On Monday, the Vancouver Park Board is planning to introduce a motion with a plan to push the organizers to cancel the rally. They say they know protesters might show up anyway, but they want to set an example to city council in order to get the rally permanently out of that park. 

Emery said the event is still a protest until they are given an event license, which they have not been. 

Vancouver Police said that "public safety will remain our top priority" at the event. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will visit one of the largest Sikh temples in Canada this morning, just hours after his government agreed to remove a reference to Sikh extremism from a report on terrorism.

Trudeau and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan will speak at the Ross Street Gurdwara in Vancouver, then partake in the city's Vaisakhi Parade to mark the Sikh holy day.

The visit comes a day after the Liberals agreed to make a change to the 2018 Public Report on the Terrorism Threat to Canada, which drew the ire of the Sikh community when it was released in December.

For the first time, the report listed Sikh extremism as one of the top five extremist threats in Canada.

But late Friday, the language was changed to remove any mention of religion, instead discussing the threat posed by "extremists who support violent means to establish an independent state within India."

There are roughly half a million Canadians who identify as Sikh, most of them in the Greater Toronto Area and suburban Vancouver.

It's not cool to show off your guns and drink before dry grad. Especially if you're a teacher.

Edward Robert Lefurgy, a high school teacher in Surrey, has been reprimanded for actions at his school's dry grad two years ago.

Information posted in a decision by the BC Commissioner for Teacher Regulations, states Lefurgy began the night with a couple of drinks with one of the parents at a bar in a Vancouver hotel where the event was taking place.

Inside the event, he asked another parent if her son was even graduating. He then provided a false name when asked for it by the parent.

At the dry grad, where Lefurgy dealt blackjack, he made numerous inappropriate remarks to students, telling one girl, “Your boyfriend’s alright looking, but you could do better.”

Lefurgy was suspended two days without pay for his actions. He was also required to complete a “Reinforcing Respectful Professional Boundaries” course from the Justice Institute of British Columbia.

A family member has identified the deceased in an online memorial as 63-year-old Joseph William Cousineau, CTV News reports. 

"My dad was one of a kind, a modern day pirate, a West Coast legend," wrote daughter Anamarija Cousineau. "It's no secret he was haunted by voices only he could hear. Yet, despite his schizophrenia, Dad always tried to live life with the wind at his back and the throttle wide open."

RCMP say they have completed an investigation into alleged voter fraud ahead of the civic election in Surrey, and Crown prosecutors are reviewing their report for charge assessment.

Surrey was one of several municipalities in Metro Vancouver where voter fraud allegations were reported during local election campaigns last fall.

The Mounties say in a news release they launched the investigation in September after Surrey's chief elections officers noted irregularities in the mail ballot registration process.

They found 67 applications to be fraudulent because they were not completed or signed by the voter listed on the application, but no ballots were sent out based on those applications and the process to apply for a mail ballot was amended on Oct. 1 to preserve the integrity of the election.

The Mounties received one more complaint that an election employee at a polling station tried to influence a voter but they say the employee was quickly removed by officials overseeing the election.

The results of the RCMP probe were shared with the chief electoral officer and Crown counsel, who has forwarded them to the B.C. prosecution service to consider charges.

“Allegations such as these are rare, but important to investigate to ensure the integrity of our democratic process,” Asst. Commissioner Dwayne McDonald said in the release.

In October, the City of Vancouver also said it was aware of messages circulating on social media site WeChat that appeared to offer money in exchange for voting in Richmond, Burnaby and Vancouver.

It said the allegations were forwarded to both Vancouver police and the RCMP in Richmond and Burnaby.

RCMP in Surrey have previously said the fraudulent applications have not been linked to any civic election candidate or party.

RCMP are warning the public after the alleged tampering on April 5, CTV News reports. The club was not named by police.

So-called date rape drugs like Rohypnol, GHB or ketamine can be discreetly added to drinks, police warn.

"Within 10 to 20 minutes of the drug being added to the drink, the unsuspecting target may begin to experience a number of physical symptoms: light headedness, slurred speech, sleepy, memory loss, nausea and loss of consciousness," says Const. Gary O'Brien said Friday.

Police advise women to stay close to friends, not accept drinks from a strangers, and never leave their drink unattended.