Woman charged in crosswalk crash that left Saanich girl, 11, brain damaged

A North Saanich woman has been charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm after a collision last year in which an 11-year-old girl was seriously injured when she was hit by an SUV while in a crosswalk in Gordon Head.

Tenessa Rayann Lyric Nikirk, 21, of North Saanich has a court appearance scheduled for Nov. 7.

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Leila Bui suffered severe brain damage in the Dec. 20, 2017, collision, which occurred in the crosswalk in front of her home at Ash Road and Torquay Drive.

She was crossing the street about 8:15 a.m. to get to a neighbour’s home for a ride to school when she was struck.

She left hospital to live at home in June, but uses a wheelchair and needs constant medical care.

Asked why the charges took so long, Saanich police Sgt. Jereme Leslie said a lot goes into an investigation.

“It’s all evidence-based,” he said. “It’s just simply gathering the evidence and then looking at what we have and putting that forward to the B.C. Prosecution Service.”

After she was struck, Leila was put into a medically induced coma at Victoria General Hospital, where she underwent nine surgeries in the pediatric intensive care unit.

She spent two months at Sunny Hill Children’s Centre in Vancouver, where an occupational therapist worked on rehabilitation.

The injury left her unable to communicate.

A pair of online fundraisers raised $35,000 to help with the purchase of a wheelchair van and with renovating a bathroom to make it accessible, while the Help Fill a Dream Foundation donated a wheelchair ramp.

Fundraising included a GoFundMe page created by the Torquay Elementary School Parent Advisory Council.

The family wrote on a web page in June: “Leila is a super strong and determined girl who has demonstrated to us throughout this whole journey just how much she wants to stay with us.

“She has come a very long way since that horrific day six months ago.”

jwbell@timescolonist.com

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