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Homeless man dies after being run over on Downtown Eastside

Last Updated Jun 3, 2021 at 6:43 pm PDT

Summary

Vancouver police believe a homeless man fell asleep in front of a parkade gate

VPD says driver mistakenly drove over him as they tried to enter the underground parking lot

Police say the driver was unable to see the pedestrian

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A homeless man who was run over by a car last week while sleeping in a Downtown Eastside alley has died.

Vancouver police believe the 39-year-old man fell asleep in front of a parkade gate in a laneway near Gore St. and Union Ave. last Wednesday afternoon.

“Sadly, a driver came along and attempted to turn into the parkade, was unable to see the man lying on the ground from the angle that he was turning his car and horrifically drove over the man,” said VPD Sgt. Steve Addison. “He immediately realized that something had happened, got out of the car, and noticed that he’d driven over the man.”

Firefighters and paramedics had to pull the man out and he was taken to the hospital. He died on Tuesday.

Addison says police have spoken with the driver and reviewed security footage.

“They even got into the vehicle that was involved and drove that vehicle. From the investigator’s point of view, they believe it was simply impossible for the driver to have been able to see the man from the way he was positioned in the laneway,” Addison said.

“While this was an awful and avoidable set of circumstances, we don’t believe foul play or dangerous driving were factors in this collision,” he added.

Police say the man, whose name is not being released, may have been using drugs before he fell asleep.

“This is both tragic and heartbreaking, and it underscores the vulnerability of the homeless and drug-addicted population in the Downtown Eastside,” Addison said, adding people who use drugs are urged not to do so alone.

No charges or tickets are expected to be filed against the driver. This was the seventh pedestrian fatality in Vancouver this year.

With files from Paul James and Sonia Aslam