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15-year-old dead after hit-and-run in Port Coquitlam
The search continues for a driver who struck and killed a 15-year-old girl Tuesday afternoon in Port Coquitlam before fleeing.
Annie Leung was walking near the intersection of Mary Hill and Pitt River roads when, witnesses said, she was struck by a black Ford F150 with a black canopy being driven by an older male with greying hair.
"That is all the information we have at this point," said Coquitlam RCMP Cpl. Jamie Chung. "With that information, we are hoping that somebody will come forward."
The victim was quickly rushed to hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries.
A memorial has been set up at the intersection and Coquitlam's Traffic Services department is investigating with the help of the Integrated Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Services.
On Wednesday, several reports showed up on Twitter saying that police had pulled over a black pickup truck with front-end damage and taken a man into custody. Those tweets were false, according to RCMP Const. Jamie Phillipson, who said police have not made any arrests and have yet to identify a suspect.
"Obviously, our officers are hyper aware of any trucks with front-end damage," he said. "They will be doing stops."
Staff and students at Riverside secondary school, where Leung was a student, were mourning her loss this week. Friends of the teen took to Twitter to send their condolences.
"I can't believe that the hilarious, sweet girl that stood next to us in choir is gone," said one friend. "Today has been a shock."
Another person tweeted: "I'm so thankful I was able to have the chance to get to know Annie last year. Annie, u have sucha beautiful soul, u will be missed #RIPAnnie."
School District 43 assistant superintendent Julie Pearce said counsellors were being dispatched to schools throughout the district to support teachers and students. While counsellors will be on hand, Pearce said they are generally used to support the staff members whom students will naturally gravitate toward.
"Kids want to connect with the people they care about," she said. "It's not like a bunch of new faces come in... it is very much a school effort."
In critical incident situations, Pearce said that staff try to identify friends, family and teachers that were close to the deceased student for special attention.
Teachers are also offered counselling assistance and special areas are set up around the school where people can come together and talk, she added.
The strain has been felt hardest at Riverside, where Leung was starting Grade 10.
"We are just trying to deal with our staff and our students," said principal Anthony Ciolfitto. "We will support them. We have a plan in place for these kinds of situations."
According to ICBC crash statistics, 43 accidents have occurred at Mary Hill and Pitt River roads since 2008, putting it in 30th place in Port Coquitlam. Last year, there were 11 crashes at the intersection, the worst year since 2009, when 12 were recorded.
Anyone with any information about the suspect being sought by police is asked to call the Coquitlam RCMP at 604-945-1550 and quote file number 2013-27102. Those who wish to contribute information anonymously can do so by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or going to www.solvecrime.ca.