Developer puts in safety measures at site of Burnaby accident that killed 14-year-old

·3 min read
A woman lays flowers at a makeshift memorial for Muska Behzad, 14, who was struck and killed by a dump truck on May 5 while walking home from school in Burnaby, B.C. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)
A woman lays flowers at a makeshift memorial for Muska Behzad, 14, who was struck and killed by a dump truck on May 5 while walking home from school in Burnaby, B.C. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)

In the wake of the death of a 14-year-old girl who was struck and killed by a dump truck in Burnaby, B.C., safety measures have been put in place at the scene of the accident to try to prevent future fatalities.

Muska Behzad was walking home from Byrne Creek Community School when she was hit by a driver pulling a dump trailer on 11th Avenue near 16th Street on Thursday, May 5. A week later, real estate developer Ledingham McAllister released a statement saying it has installed a sidewalk and re-routed trucks in the area where Behzad died.

The company is building a 60-acre mixed condo and retail development in the area and the dump truck driver was working on that project. It says an asphalt sidewalk with barriers has now been installed along the south side of 11th Avenue from 17th Street to 18th Street.

"We assumed this responsibility from the City of Burnaby because our contractors were already on site and would get this work done quickly," the company said in a statement.

Ben Nelms/CBC
Ben Nelms/CBC

Ledingham McAllister says trucks will also be redirected to drive west on 11th Avenue, instead of east. By going west, they will go from 11th Avenue to 18th Street, then 18th Street to 10th Avenue.

The company has also suspended all dump truck activity, saying it will resume when the City of Burnaby installs signs prohibiting parking on the south side of 11th Avenue.

10 complaints in 12 months

Mounties say they have received about 10 complaints in the last 12 months about traffic near 11th Avenue and 16th Street.

An 18-year-old girl told police she had been clipped by a truck or minivan's mirror as she was walking around midday on Nov. 15. She was not seriously hurt, but neighbours say they've complained to the city, police and WorkSafeBC about heavy vehicles in the area for months.

The stretch of road on 11th Avenue has single-family homes on one side of the street and an industrial complex on the other.

Ben Nelms/CBC
Ben Nelms/CBC

On May 12, Burnaby RCMP held a public meeting for people who live and work in the area at Edmonds Community Centre. Police officers and civilian staff, including the Burnaby RCMP's Victim Services Unit, came to discuss community concerns and to provide information and resources to those impacted by Behzad's death.

Ledingham McAllister says it also had representatives at the meeting.

Area resident Stacy Wallwork, who told CBC she has complained to the city, RCMP and WorkSafeBC about the traffic issue, attended the event and was less than impressed.

Wallwork was critical of authorities she says have known about the problem and not acted sooner.

"I think that we are just being really reactionary to something that could have been prevented and was well-reported," she said.

'I can feel their pain'

Hundreds of people honoured Behzad at her funeral service Monday. She had immigrated from Afghanistan to B.C. with her mother and siblings in 2020 to be with her father.

The family is reeling from the loss of a beloved daughter and sister who had dreams of becoming a doctor, in part so she could earn a good living and support her family.

Burnaby resident Mahmood Anwari also immigrated from Afghanistan and said he attended the police's public outreach event to show his support for the Behzad family.

He said the RCMP gave him helpful information about who to contact about road safety issues in the area because he has been concerned for a couple of months and did not know who to talk to about it.

Anwari also extended his condolences to the Behzads, saying how horrible it is to come from an unsafe country to one you presume is safer and then experience such trauma.

"I can feel their pain."

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