VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Last month a driver in Surrey ran over a 13-year-old boy’s foot, dropped him home and left him alone sitting on his curb injured and bleeding. The boy’s mother is now calling to amend the Motor Vehicle Act, which allowed the driver to go unpunished.
Ísedá Jeffers-Harris says she received a call from her son Marquice around noon on Aug. 19. It didn’t take long for the mother to know something was wrong.
“I could hear right away that he was breathing heavy,” she said. “And he said, with a very shaky voice, ‘Mom, I need help getting into the house.’ And I said, ‘What do you mean? Where are you?’ And he said, ‘I’m outside.’ I dropped my phone and I ran outside.”
When Ísedá ran out the door she says she found her son sitting on the sidewalk, leaning against the house.
“I saw right away that there was a lot of blood coming out of his leg, and that he was shaking and his face was just grey. I ran up to him and I said, ‘What happened to you?’ And he said, ‘I got hurt.’ And I said, ‘Who hurt you?’ He said, ‘I got hit by a car.'”
Marquice told his mother he was skateboarding along the middle of Dumbarton Road near 111A Avenue when he saw a black SUV driving towards him.
His mother told NEWS 1130: “When he saw her come onto the street, he didn’t feel he was going to be able to make it to the sidewalk with how fast she was going without getting struck by the front of her car.
“So instead, he stayed put right where he was in the middle of the road.”
After the collision, the woman drove Marquice home, helped sit him down on the sidewalk outside his home and gave him a towel to help catch the bleeding.
Eventually, the driver left Marquice and drove away without providing any contact information.
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Please share my son’s story. At noon on Aug.19th 2020 my son was in the street and got struck by and (foot) ran over by a car. The woman who hit him drove him home, took him to our sidewalk and LEFT HIM THERE bleeding and unable to walk. She left NO information. My son called me and told me he was outside hurt and needed help (his foot is broken in 3 places btw). I came out to find him bleeding down his leg and bleeding from his shoulder, in shock and his foot was massive. While at the hospital the police said the woman LATER showed back up at the house and had decided to come forward in a different car. The police officer told me that this woman was also scared and in shock and that “she was dealing with a lot of personal issues of her own” like that was a good excuse for her leaving him with no efforts to seek help or medical attention. He then told me they would NOT be ticketing or charging her because she DID drive him home therefore she tried to assist. Assist??? She did not call 911. She did not take him to the hospital. She did not ask for my number or try knocking on our door. She LEFT him. She abandoned him. What she did should be considered a HIT AND RUN. PERIOD but its not being ruled as such. Would the @surrey_rcmp be so kind to someone of my ethnicity if I hit a child and left them outside their home injured and pulled off? #blacklivesmatter #justice #mysonslifematters @justinpjtrudeau @blklivesmatter @dailyhivevancouver @garry.begg @blm_van #blacklivesmatter #blackchildrenmatter @dailyhivevancouver @jagmeetsingh @surreysarai @blmvancouver
The woman who drove the SUV eventually returned to the Jeffers-Harris home when Mounties were reviewing CCTV camera footage.
At Surrey Memorial Hospital, Marquice received a CT scan and the family learned he had broken his foot in three places.
The case was closed in about a week and the driver was not charged or ticketed.
“Under the Motor Vehicle Act, as long as a driver remains at or immediately returns to a scene, renders assistance and willingly provides their information, it is not considered a hit and run, and therefore they cannot be issued a violation ticket for failing to remain at the scene,” a statement from the Surrey RCMP reads.
“In this situation, the extent of the boy’s injuries was not immediately evident, so the driver proceeded to drive him home, as opposed to seeking medical attention. Once the driver realized that she had not fully met her obligations as the driver, she returned immediately and fully cooperated with the police investigation.”
The statement adds considering the circumstances and where Marquice was on the road, there was “no evidence of driver neglect or driver error.”
The boy's mom, Ísedá says according to RCMP, since the driver eventually returned – she provided reasonable assistance under the Motor Vehicle Act and Criminal Code. And that means she wont be charged or even ticketed.
— Nikitha Martins (@nikitha_martins) September 5, 2020
According to Ísedá, Mounties told her the woman driving had been experiencing some personal issues – though would not disclose more – which was why she could not stay with Marquice.
“I would consider hitting a child to be a serious accident that you’re obligated to stay until the police come, or you’re at least obligated to leave your information. And my son was very evidently hurt,” said Ísedá. “He couldn’t walk. He was bleeding badly. He was clearly in shock. He’s 13 and just got hit by a car. And she left him on the side of my house.”
Since the collision, the Jeffers-Harris family have set up a petition and reached out to politicians pushing to amend the Motor Vehicle Act, requiring drivers to be legally obligated to call 9-1-1 if a minor is involved.
MP for Surrey Centre Randeep Sarai contacted the family Friday to offer his help. And as of Saturday, more than 10,000 people had signed the petition.
Sarai told NEWS 1130 he believes the Act should be adjusted for minors since they may not know to take down contact information or licence plates, as an adult would.
“When it’s a minor I think the … obligation and duty of care for the driver of a motor vehicle where this happened should be higher, to make sure that there’s an adult that knows of the situation,” he said.
The MP says he will be keeping in touch with the family to assist in getting someone in the province to take a look at their plan “so that doesn’t happen to young people in the future.”
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Please sign my petition and share this post. *link in the bio* On Aug 19th, 2020 on the very street you see my 13 year old Son was hit by a car while coming home for lunch. The driver of the vehicle got out of her car, allowed my Son to get up on one leg without assistance then told him she would drive him home and proceeded to watch my son hop on one leg to the passenger side of her car. She then gave him a towel for his deep bleeding wounds, brought him home, waited for him to get out of her car and followed behind him as he hopped painfully on one leg to my sidewalk. She then gave him his backpack and left. She did not call 911 or the police, she did not declare herself to any adults and she did not come to my door to tell me my child had been badly injured. She left without a word. She only returned an hour later when she saw police at my home. This woman is a school teacher. The @bcrcmp are stating there will be no charges because this woman was dealing with a personal emergency at the time and was shocked and scared from hitting my Son and because she returned to the scene later (in a different car), that they consider her removing him from the scene and dropping him at home as “assisting” and that they can’t charge her due to how #hitandrun law reads.” I need to seek justice for my Son. This woman did not see enough value in my Son to help him instead of leaving him broken and bleeding. We need to fight to have Hit and Run law changed to stipulate that if you hit a child you are obligated to declare yourself on scene and seek medical help for the injured child. Please share this post and sign my petition *link in the bio* @johnhorgan4bc @justinpjtrudeau @theicbc #blacklivesmatter #blackchildrenmatter #hitandrun #fixthesystem #fightforchange #whiteprivilege #noexcuses @freedommarchvancouver
This week, the family confirmed they have asked their lawyer – Subreen Bedi from Origin Law Group – to not only try amending the act, but also attempt to reopen the RCMP’s investigation.
“In addition to the motor vehicle accidents … There’s a potential issue relating to the handling of the investigation by RCMP and the qualification of the conduct of the driver,” said Bedi. “Our client has received tremendous online support and believes that there’s issues of systemic racism pulling from how the police dealt with this.
“To be clear, our client’s mom is not alleging that the driver herself partook in racist or behaviour of that sort. But what we’re more concerned about [how] this investigation was conducted and the ultimate result in regards to the handling of this incident by the RCMP.”
Ísedá and her son have also identified the driver as a high school teacher in the Surrey School District.
Social media users were quick to critique the teacher, arguing the woman has a lack of sound judgment considering her training as a teacher caring for and looking after children.
“From what I understand, this teacher should have known better and likely has the requisite training to have conducted herself differently than what we understand that she did, right, so we’ve got concerns,” Bedi says.
The Surrey School District is aware of the incident and has asked human resources to review facts and determine appropriate next steps.
Ísedá adds, seeing her son fall victim to this incident frustrates her.
“As a mother, I can’t explain to you how much it hurts for me to know that somebody struck my child and didn’t feel like he was worth getting help for. As a mother, it baffles me to know that this woman came through my gates to my sidewalk and was 10 steps from my door and didn’t try to knock.”
At the end of the day, Marquice tells NEWS 1130 his goal is to trigger a change that helps the next generation.
“My goal is to just make sure that what happens to me, doesn’t happen to other kids … that they do receive medical attention and they do have an adult that’s there to help them,” he says.