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RCMP arrest suspect in Surrey hit-and-run case

With shadows growing longer in December, pedestrians are at greater risk, authorities are warning.

Rafal Gerszak/The Globe and Mail

Less than 24 hours after it released video of an apparent hit-and-run, the Surrey RCMP detachment announced an arrest in the case, crediting the "observant community" with providing key clues.

The incident occurred Monday night. Two women were jogging through a crosswalk in the 3200 block of 152nd Street when they were struck. One of the women was airlifted to hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries. The second woman's injuries were less severe.

The video, shot by a roadside camera and released by the RCMP on Wednesday, shows a white crossover vehicle making a left turn directly into the women.

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Corporal Bert Paquet, an RCMP spokesman, on Thursday announced the arrest of a 53-year-old man for dangerous driving causing bodily harm. The man was released from custody and is scheduled to appear in court in May. His vehicle has been seized.

"The Surrey RCMP thank the public for their assistance during this investigation," Cpl. Paquet said. "They were instrumental in helping our officers put the pieces together and track down the alleged suspect."

Cpl. Paquet said the force is still gathering evidence and he advised witnesses to come forward if they have not already spoken with police.

What is traditionally a dangerous time of year for pedestrians in B.C. has been especially busy in recent weeks. The B.C. Coroners Service on Thursday urged both pedestrians and motorists to take extra care following 13 pedestrian fatalities in the last five weeks.

The Coroners Service said the total number of pedestrian deaths this year is slightly higher than for each of the past three years. It added that more than three weeks remain in one of the highest risk months.

The Coroners Service said the elderly are most at risk and it issued several safety tips for pedestrians. Wearing light-coloured clothing and staying alert were among them.

The Vancouver Police Department earlier this week issued a hit-and-run plea of its own. In that incident, a mother of two was walking home from work Sunday night when she was struck at the intersection of East 43rd Avenue and Prince Edward Street. She died in hospital.

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The months of November and December, when it gets dark earlier, are typically dangerous for pedestrians in this province. The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia says there is, on average, an 80-per-cent increase in crashes in which a pedestrian is injured, compared to July and August. In the Lower Mainland specifically, ICBC says the average number of crashes in which a pedestrian is injured doubles.

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