Friends call for safety upgrades at Nanaimo crosswalk where teen fatally struck

Watch Friends of a Nanaimo teen struck and killed in a crosswalk earlier this year don't want anyone else to die. They're lobbying for safety upgrades on Hammond Bay Road, where their friend lost his life. As Kendall Hanson reports, their efforts are gaining traction.

Flowers mark the spot where 17-year-old Eric Shim fell to the ground after being struck by a car in this crosswalk on busy Hammond Bay Road.

Doctors declared Shim brain dead six days later.

Friends say coming to the location is still painful.

“It is scary coming here now,” said Andrew McParland, one of Shim’s best friends.

“A lot of times when I cross that crosswalk and I just look down this road pretty much every time and I think about what happened.”

The collision happened in the middle of a sunny afternoon just over three months ago.

Shim was crossing Hammond Bay road at Ventura Road on his way home from school when he was struck.

It’s a day friends will never forget.

“When I got home and heard he was the one that got hit, it was just like a big drop in my heart,” said Preet Shienh, another of Shim’s best friends.

“When I heard it was him I was just out of it.”

Friends say Shim was silly, fun and they loved hanging out with him.

Shim was an organ donor. After his death, six of his organs were transplanted to others in need.

“That sounds like Eric to me. Sounds like something he would very willingly do,” said McParland.

Now, they’ve launched an online petition. They’re calling for safety improvements at the crosswalk, where they say many drivers speed through, putting pedestrians in danger daily.

“Definitely more lights to let drivers know that someone is crossing cause I feel like this could have been prevented if the driver had known that Eric was going across the road,” said Shienh.

“There has been a lot of support. A lot of people feel the same way. Many people in the city have kids going to and from school every single day,” said Lisa Shim, a family friend.

After the collision, police seized the car and said the 33-year-old driver was cooperating. Their investigation is ongoing.

Nanaimo’s transportation manager says the city has yet to receive the petition but he wants to see the results of the RCMP investigation before considering any changes to the crosswalk.

A GoFundMe has also been started to help Eric’s parents pay for a memorial bench in his honour and to help fund a traffic accident lawsuit.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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