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Leanne McCarthy can’t understand why the driver who hit her grandson didn’t make sure his family was contacted before leaving the scene.
The Sydney woman is also questioning if police are investigating the accident which they reported the same night.
Stephen Wall, 14, was crossing Welton Street in Sydney after leaving the nearby McDonald’s restaurant when he was struck by the vehicle on Oct. 8 between 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
The Sydney Academy teen had gone to McDonald’s with his cousin Aidan MacKinnon who was in front of him on the lit sidewalk. MacKinnon had crossed all lanes of traffic when he noticed the van driving in the last lane wasn’t stopping like the other cars had.
“Aidan yelled to me and I tried to run so he wouldn’t hit me, but then he hit me on the (right) hip,” said Wall who lives with his grandmother.
“I just got sick to my stomach. I was scared and I was in shock. I don’t remember much after I was hit. Just bits and pieces.”
When the van hit Wall’s hip, the teen landed on the hood of the van, which travelled a few feet over the crosswalk before the driver stopped, throwing the teen off the hood.
Wall said the driver got out and asked if he was OK. In shock and scared, Wall quickly responded he was fine and the driver left the scene, even though the teen’s clothes were ripped and he was bleeding.
“I can’t believe (the driver) didn’t call us,” said McCarthy. “I can’t believe that he wasn’t the one to call the ambulance, to call for help … It’s very frustrating.”
An employee from McDonald’s who witnessed the accident came to help Wall and she offered her phone so he could call home. Wall said he blanked out and couldn’t remember anyone’s phone number so he and MacKinnon went to the nearby Burger King where they called a cab and returned to their homes in Whitney Pier.
Once home, McCarthy called Emergency Health Services and Cape Breton Regional Police to report the accident. Paramedics treated Wall for minor injuries at home. McCarthy said they gave statements to police and were told by an officer they would be canvassing businesses in the area for information.
The Cape Breton Post spoke with Insp. Stephen MacKinnon, who told the Cape Breton Post on Oct. 13 he didn’t think the accident was being investigated because the teen told the driver he was fine. He also said he wasn’t familiar with the case.
Attempts to reach police communications personal to confirm the accident isn’t being investigated or to get an update on the investigation weren’t successful before publication time.
“I hope police do something about this. I hope they don’t drop the ball on this one,” said McCarthy. “I really hope it is pursued. This matters.”
According to the Nova Scotia Motor Vehicle Act, section 97, a driver is responsible for reporting all accidents where an injury is incurred.
On Oct. 9, McCarthy posted on Facebook asking for anyone who witnessed the accident to contact her. This resulted in one person providing her with dashcam footage taken when he passed the van and driver speaking to Wall after he was hit.
“It’s mind-boggling with all the shares my post had on Facebook, and now the dashcam video is put on there, that no one has come forward with information on this man,” she said.
Although Wall’s injuries are minor, they are causing him a lot of pain and he’s missed school because he isn’t able to stand for long. A week after being struck, McCarthy said they still need to change his bandages at least twice a day and Wall’s knees have started swelling, making her fear the injuries may be more than just raw scrapes.
For Wall, the physical pain doesn’t compare to the mental pain of being hit. Talking about it, his eyes get red as tears threaten to fall because another one of his cousins, Joneil Hanna, died after being struck by a car in 2017.
“The way Stephen worded it the other night, he said, 'Now I know how my cousin felt,'” said McCarthy.
“They grew up together. Baby photos, right up until Joneil’s death. Everyone was like, 'this could have been just like Joneil.'”
Although the circumstances surrounding the two accidents are very different, Wall can’t shake the feeling he could have ended up like his cousin. He also can’t understand why the adult driver didn’t help him more.
“I’m just a little kid, I’m not that big. I don’t know why he would just leave me,” he said.
“I could have died.”