Vehicle seized, 'person of interest' identified in deadly North York hit-and-run
Codi Wilson and Rachael D'Amore, CTV News Toronto
Published Wednesday, October 11, 2017 8:13AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 11, 2017 6:36PM EDT
The owner of a Toronto auto repair shop, where a vehicle suspected of being involved in a deadly hit-and-run was found, said the car’s hood was jammed shut because of damage to the front-end.
Speaking to CTV News Toronto, the owner of the repair shop said he hadn’t started work on the car when police pulled up outside.
“That evening I went home and I listened to the news,” Joe Luong said. “I saw that the damage (being described) matched.”
Investigators say the vehicle in question is a grey, 2014 Nissan Rogue with the licence plate number BVVH900.
They believe the car mounted a curb at around 11 p.m. on Oct. 4, killing 63-year-old Debbie Graves who happened to be walking on the north side of York Mills Road, just west of Don Mills Road.
Police said the driver of the vehicle fled the area after the collision.
Graves, who was visiting Toronto from Riverview, New Brunswick, was pronounced dead at the scene.
On Wednesday, police confirmed that the vehicle wanted in connection with the fatal collision was found at an auto repair shop in Toronto two days after the tragic crash.
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.
Luong said the woman, who he identified as Erin Wright, showed up at the garage while police were inspecting her car.
Police say Wright is registered to the vehicle but has been "uncooperative" with the investigation.
“We haven’t received any information from the registered owner as to who was operating this motor-vehicle,” Const. Clint Stibbe said on Wednesday.
"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."
Stibbe said that 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 are 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.”