As the floral memorial grew at the corner of Bridge and Van Vliet in Manotick, a child’s piece of artwork taped to the pole brought a human element to the scene.
This was not just an accident involving a car and two pedestrian victims. A life was lost in the village. And that death left a child in the village without a grandmother.
At approximately 7 p.m. Wed., April 12, officers were called to the area of Bridge Street and Van Vliet Road in Manotick, in response to a collision involving where two pedestrians were struck by a vehicle. The Ottawa Police Service Fatal Collision Unit Investigators are seeking witnesses to the fatal collision.
One pedestrian, a 61-year-old woman, succumbed to their injuries at the hospital. Another pedestrian, a 66-year-old woman, suffered serious injuries.
The incident sparked more anger about the traffic problem on Bridge Street. Although it was not a truck that struck the two women, people at a protest last September collectively wondered when, not if, someone would be killed on Bridge Street due to the traffic.
The incident hit very close to home for the residents at Manotick Place Retirement Home, which is a little more than 100 metres down the road from where the collision occurred.
“The residents are scared,” said Manotick Place Executive Director Barb Phillips. “The women who were hit were not residents here and had no connection to Manotick Place, but it made the residents afraid to go out.”
On Thursday, the day after the tragedy, record temperatures brought a sudden burst of summer to a community that had suffered through a major ice storm just a week earlier.
“Thursday was the most beautiful day of the year, but no one went out front,” she said. “The only residents who went outside were in the back.”
Phillips added that residents immediately began discussing the need to have another truck protest on Bridge Street, similar to the protest held last September.
And while trucks were not involved in the collision, the truck problem in Manotick weighed in. A truck that was rerouted from the scene hit a telephone pole and knocked out power for about 700 homes in Mantoick.
Community leaders react
One of the first politicians to react to the tragedy was Carleton MPP Goldie Ghamari. She issued a press release the day after the collision.
“As the MPP for Carleton, I would like to express my most sincere condolences to the family and friends of the victim in this tragedy, as well as my best wishes for a speedy recovery to the woman who suffered serious injuries and is in hospital,” Ghamari said.
“In the five years since I have been fortunate enough to represent Carleton as an elected official, this is one of the most heart wrenching tragedies I have seen both in the Village of Manotick and throughout the riding.”
Ghamari said that although traffic in the village is a municipal issue for Councillor David Brown and Mark Sutcliffe to deal with and not a provincial issue, she has had discussions with both of them regarding the traffic and truck problem and is offering her full support.
“Prioritizing traffic safety on Bridge Street has been a priority of mine for over five years. I recently met with Mayor Mark Sutcliffe on February 15, 2023 at Creekside Bar and Grill in Manotick discuss this very issue. I used the opportunity to point out the number of trucks, as well as speeding vehicles, driving on Bridge Street during our one hour breakfast meeting,” Ghamari said.
“Although truck traffic in the village is a responsibility of the city and not the province, I have met with, and will continue to meet and speak with, both Councillor Brown and Mayor Sutcliffe on the issue of traffic on Bridge Street. Both are fully aware of the problems in Manotick, and I am confident that they will be seeking action to avoid any such incidents in the future. I offer them my full support in finding a resolution to the ongoing problem in the village.”
Ghamari added that while the tragedy will spark discussions about trucks and traffic, she said she did not want to see this incident politicized.
“This is not a time to focus on truck traffic,” she said. “The discussions about trucks and traffic have been going on for years and they will continue to go on. But now is not the time to discuss that. It is a time to mourn, and to allow the family of the victim to have some privacy and to heal.”
Rideau-Jock Councillor David Brown also issued a statement Thursday regarding the incident.
“Since last evening’s accident and through this morning, I have been in constant communication with City Staff, Emergency Services, and the Manotick Village Community Association. I have been engaging with all partners to discuss ways to create a safer environment for our community,” Brown said.
“At this time, my office is working with City and community partners to gather information; my office will share more information with residents when available and appropriate to do so. This is a challenging time for our community, and I would ask that residents respect the privacy of those impacted by the collision as they navigate this overwhelming and tragic situation.
“Once again, I extend my deepest and most heartfelt condolences to all those impacted by this collision. The victims of this crash are in my prayers.”
Investigators would like to speak with anyone who witnessed the collision or may have dashcam footage of this incident and have not yet spoken to police.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Ottawa Police Service Fatal Collision Investigation Unit at 613-236-1222, extension 2345.
Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-222-8477 or at crimestoppers.ca.
Editor’s Note – Out of respect for the family, this story is omitting the name of the woman who was killed in this accident.