Investigation continues into fatal Coquitlam crash

Deborah Seol, 13, was killed when a car struck her

The investigation into car crash last spring that killed a 13-year-old girl on Mariner Way is waiting on expert analysis before police take the next steps in the case.

Coquitlam RCMP Cpl. Michael McLaughlin said Mounties are expecting reports looking at skid marks, stopping distances as well as onboard vehicle computers to determine exactly what happened March 25, when a black BMW spun into a pedestrian island where five children were standing. Two were sent to hospital, including Grade 8 Montgomery middle student Deborah Seol, who died.

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“We feel we have made a lot of progress in this investigation,” McLaughlin said. “Until we have all the reports, we can’t draw an evidence-based conclusion.”

Deborah Seol - FILE PHOTO

He said there is no timeline on when investigators expect to receive the necessary information.

“Expert reports are always tricky because we never know when they are going to arrive and they can be game changing,” he said.

The accident that took Seol’s life occurred just before 3 p.m. when she and four other children between the age of six and 17 were on their way to nearby Hickey Park. The group was crossing Mariner Way, standing on the concrete road island at Riverview Crescent, when a Dodge Charger turning left onto Riverview collided with the black BMW, sending the BMW spinning out of control and into the children. A six-year-old was also taken to hospital with serious injuries but survived.

In May, police shut down the intersection to re-enact the collision, driving police cars to duplicate the speeds and trajectory of the vehicles involved.

Full or partial re-enactments are fairly routine procedures in the course of a traffic investigation, according to RCMP, and are used to get a clearer picture of the events leading up to a collision or the collision itself.

Both drivers have been cooperating and police have said that no charges will be considered until the investigation is complete.

While investigations of this kind are lengthy, McLaughlin said police need to examine every scenario before decided whether to pursue charges.

“We spend hours going over scenarios. Everything we can think of to explain behaviour,” he said, later adding:  “If you don’t have a threshold of beyond a reasonable doubt, you don’t have grounds for a charge.”

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