Child dead after 5 pedestrians struck by alleged impaired driver on sidewalk in St. Thomas, Ont.

Child dead after 5 pedestrians struck by alleged impaired driver on sidewalk in St. Thomas, Ont.

An 11-year-old child is dead, a woman is fighting for her life in hospital and three others suffered minor injuries after a pickup truck left the roadway and hit five pedestrians on a sidewalk in St. Thomas, Ont., just south of London.

A 19-year-old driver is facing impaired driving-related offences, police said.

Police say the driver of the pickup lost control of the vehicle while travelling westbound on Talbot Street near the intersection of Caso Crossing just before 5 p.m. Tuesday, striking the five pedestrians.

Chief Marc Roskamp identified the deceased as 11-year-old Aiden Curtis and said that he has reached out to the family to offer “heartfelt condolences” on behalf of the police service and the entire community.

“I can confirm that STPS members will continue to be a resource for the family, all witnesses and those affected as this investigation continues,” Roskamp said.

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“We are also working with the family of the second victim, who remains in critical condition in hospital.”

The injured woman is at London Health Sciences Centre. Police have not provided any details about the other three pedestrians except to say that they suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Mayor Joe Preston said his heart goes out to everyone impacted by this incident and stressed that its impacts will be felt widely.

“We’re spending a lot of time today talking to our first responders as to how they are getting through this,” he said after visiting the fire station.

“It is about the empathy for the family and the community itself, but also for those that have to rush towards incidents like this and help the community that way.”

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Police say Nicholas Lemke has been charged with: “Impaired Operation Causing Death, Impaired Operation Causing Bodily Harm and Operation While Impaired – blood alcohol concentration over 80.”

In a statement, Roskamp decried an increase in impaired driving-related offences “in recent years” in the community.

“There are no excuses for this senseless tragedy. Impaired driving related collisions are preventable. Criminal driving offences have been increasing in recent years in St. Thomas. Impaired driving by alcohol and drugs or a combination thereof increased 19 per cent in 2022.”

The investigation is ongoing.

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