Suspect vehicle in fatal North York hit-and-run was found at repair shop two days later: Police
Codi Wilson and Joshua Freeman, CP24.com
Published Wednesday, October 11, 2017 8:13AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, October 12, 2017 5:13AM EDT
A Toronto auto repair shop owner says he hadn’t yet started work on a vehicle with bad front-end damage when police pulled up outside his shop looking for a vehicle they believed was involved in a fatal hit-and-run.
“I told the police I didn’t do anything yet, I tried to open the hood – that’s all I did,” Joe Luong told CTV News Toronto.
Luong said he couldn’t get further though, because the hood was jammed shut due to obvious front-end damage. He later learned from a news report that the damage to the car matched the damage consistent with the deadly incident.
That was on Oct. 06.
Police have since seized the vehicle, and investigators said Wednesday they believe it was involved in a hit-and-run that left a 63-year-old New Brunswick woman dead.
The hit-and-run took place at around 11 p.m. on Oct. 4. Debbie Graves, 63, was walking on the north side of York Mills Road, west of Don Mills Road, when a vehicle mounted the curb and struck her.
The driver of the vehicle fled the area following the incident, police said.
Graves, who was visiting Toronto from Riverview, New Brunswick, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Speaking to CP24 Wednesday morning, Const. Clint Stibbe said the incident is especially tragic given that Graves made a point of crossing safely at a traffic light.
Stibbe said Graves and a co-worker had finished eating dinner at a restaurant in the area and the pair needed to cross the street to get to their hotel. According to Stibbe, Graves told her co-worker that she refused to cross mid-block due to the number of pedestrians who are regularly struck and killed on city streets.
“When she approached the intersection, the countdown timer had begun. She told her friend, ‘We’re not crossing. We are not allowed because the countdown timer has started.’ She waited until the light cycled (and) crossed the road properly,” Stibbe said. “(She) was walking on the sidewalk and was subsequently struck by the motor-vehicle.”
Investigators say the vehicle in question is a grey, 2014 Nissan Rogue with the licence plate number BVVH900.
Police told CP24 that they have identified a 28-year-old Toronto woman as the owner of the vehicle but have not yet determined who was driving on the night of the fatal collision.
“We haven’t received any information from the registered owner as to who was operating this motor-vehicle,” Stibbe added.
"She does own a vehicle that was involved in a fatal fail-to-remain collision so obviously she now becomes a person of interest. We haven’t called her a suspect but she is person of interest."
Police identified the owner Wednesday as Erin Wright. Luong said she showed up at the garage while police were inspecting her car on Oct. 06.
Investigators are now searching for anyone who may have video of the vehicle between the hours of 10:30 p.m. on Oct. 4 and 1:30 a.m. on Oct. 5.
“What we are looking for specifically is anyone that may have video surveillance footage in the area bounded by York Mills Road, Bayview Avenue, Owen (Boulevard) and Old Yonge Street,” Stibbe said.
“There is a very small pocket in there and we have reason to believe that vehicle was there at some point during the evening.”