Victim of deadly downtown hit-and-run was ‘lively,’ ‘humble’ U of T student
Katherine DeClerq, CTV News Toronto
Published Wednesday, March 21, 2018 3:02PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, March 21, 2018 7:21PM EDT
A 21-year-old University of Toronto student has been identified as the victim of a fatal downtown hit-and-run last week.
Police said the female victim – identified by friends as Emma Leckey, a student at University of Toronto’s Woodsworth College - was attempting to cross the street on March 15 at the intersection of Huron and College streets when she was struck by a northbound vehicle that was travelling in the southbound lanes. The incident occurred around 2:30 a.m.
After the collision, police said they believe alcohol may have been a factor in the deadly crash.
Speaking with CTV News Toronto on Monday, Joseph Desloges, a professor and principal at the institution, said that Leckey was just finishing her fourth year of studies.
“Her real passion was social justice and her parents were so proud of her on her wanting to make changes in the world,” Desloges said.
Friends and faculty gathered at 119 St. George Street on Wednesday for an informal drop-in to honour Leckey. Students described her as a “kind soul” who was always putting others before herself. Students reminisced about her campus contributions.
Daniel Humby, who met Leckey in his second year of university as an orientation leader, said that while he feels frustrated about her death, he knows Leckey wouldn’t want her friends to focus on those emotions.
“She kind of had a liveliness about her. I mean for all her quirks and the awesome little things about her, deep down she was just a nice person,” he said. “She had such a care for the people around her.”
Close friend Steven Worboys said Leckey was known for her volunteerism.
“She was very humble. She cared more about the people around her than herself. She was a genuinely nice kind person,” he said.
“Emma would have wanted a sense of calm. She wouldn’t want people to feel anger for other people.”
The driver of the vehicle allegedly left the scene following the crash and was located by police in the Forest Hill neighbourhood a short time later.
“Information was that after she was struck, she was actually thrown behind some construction cladding and ended up beside a dumpster inside a construction site,” Const. Clint Stibbe told CP24 that morning. “Luckily somebody did see her get struck by the vehicle and actually searched for her.”
The witness administered first aid while waiting for paramedics.
Leckey was transported to a trauma centre with life-threatening injuries after the incident. Police confirmed she succumbed to those injuries on Tuesday, five days after the incident.
The suspect, identified as 19-year-old Rylan Balappa-Lawes from Mississauga, has been charged with criminal negligence causing bodily harm, dangerous operation of a vehicle causing bodily harm, failing to stop after an accident causing bodily harm, and impaired operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm.
Police are asking for the public’s help determining the whereabouts of the vehicle before and shortly after the collision – between the timeframe of 1:45 a.m. and 3:45 a.m. The vehicle involved is a white 2014 RAV4. Police have seized the vehicle but say they’re still searching for more information related to the investigation.