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Young person in critical condition after being struck by vehicle in Saanich crosswalk

The pedestrian was hit in a marked crosswalk at Cedar Hill Cross Road and Merriman Drive about 9:45 p.m. on Monday
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Some neighbours of the crosswalk at Cedar Hill Cross Road and Merriman Drive where a young person was struck and seriously injured Monday night say speeding is common on Cedar Hill Cross Road, where there are a number of nearby schools. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

Update: The teenager struck by a vehicle in a marked crosswalk Monday night in Saanich has died. 

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A young person was in critical condition with life-threatening injuries after being struck by a vehicle in a Saanich crosswalk on Monday night.

The pedestrian was hit in a marked crosswalk at Cedar Hill Cross Road and Merriman Drive about 9:45 p.m. and was taken to Victoria General Hospital.

Chuck Spence, who lives next to the crosswalk, said he arrived home after picking up his wife about 10 minutes after the collision happened. The area was taped off, and he noticed a van and a green backpack with its contents strewn across the crosswalk and edge of the road.

Police said the driver stayed at the scene and co-operated with police investigators. The road was closed until 3 a.m.

“At this time, our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the youth involved in this very tragic event,” said Saanich police spokesman Const. Markus Anastasiades. He said Tuesday afternoon the youth was in the intensive care unit with family.

Saanich police did not name the victim or give an age or gender, and said the investigation is ongoing.

Spence said that stretch of Cedar Hill Cross Road is dangerous “because everybody speeds … they’re going 50, 60, 70 kilometres per hour, no matter what time of day.”

“I’m not surprised at all that this happened,” he said. “I hope this is a wake-up call. I hope police set up radar or something.”

He said many young people walk in the area, which is home to Reynolds Secondary School, Braefoot Elementary, Cedar Hill Middle School and a community living facility for youth with challenges. He has five youth living in his home and several neighbours also have children who use the crosswalk on a regular basis.

Spence said the street lighting along one side of Cedar Hill Cross Road is dim, making visibility at night poor

Ellen Tarshis, executive ­director of Community Living Victoria, which serves children, youth and adults with intellectual disabilities on Cedar Hill Cross Road, said something has to be done to reduce vehicle speeds.

“It’s an extremely busy thoroughfare and people are going way too fast,” she said.

Tarshis said Saanich should install an overhead traffic light to bring vehicles to a complete stop for pedestrians, and allow vehicles to make left-hand turns. “There have been lots of close calls,” she said. “People make bad choices [trying to turn] there.”

Another resident who lives near the crosswalk said he was one of the first at the scene Monday night.

“It was terrible and completely unavoidable,” said Daniel Behrens. “This crosswalk and the road is brutal and I’m surprised it hasn’t happened before. The speeding is ridiculous and constant, and something has to be done about it.”

Saanich council earlier this year voted unanimously in favour of a three-year pilot project, subject to approval from the province, to reduce speed limits to 30 km/h on all roads without a continuous yellow line. Cedar Hill Cross Road has a centre yellow line, however, and the speed limit there remains at 50 km/h.

dkloster@timescolonist.com