NNSL Photo/Graphic


Home page text size buttonsbigger textsmall textText size Email this articleE-mail this page

School zone hit-and-run
Family looking for driver after car damaged in collision

Kevin Allerston
Northern News Services
Published Friday, December 2, 2011

Caitlin Cleveland considers herself an easygoing person, but when she was the victim of a hit-and-run Tuesday morning after dropping her child off at St. Joseph School she'd had enough.

NNSL photo/graphic

Caitlin Cleveland and husband Jeff Bowden stand with their damaged Jeep on Wednesday. Cleveland had just dropped her child off at St. Joseph School when she became the victim of a hit-and-run Tuesday morning. - Kevin Allerston/NNSL photo

"I had just finished our children off at school and day home, and I was stopped at the three-way stop by St. Joe's there," said Cleveland. "I was hit from behind on our passenger rear by a vehicle on their driver-side front and as soon as I looked over my shoulder to see what had hit us, the vehicle just sped off through the stop sign and fishtailed onto Finlayson Drive North and up there and once I saw him blow the stop sign I realized I wasn't going to catch up with him."

Cleveland, who wasn't hurt in the collision, said she had to go into reverse to keep from hitting a car in front of her at the intersection. The other driver was going between 60 and 80 km per hour while fleeing the scene.

"I wasn't upset about the accident. We live in a place where the roads are often slippery, so the actual accident itself didn't upset me - stuff happens, and that's just a risk you take while driving - what upset me was the reaction of the other driver and how he took off so quickly and recklessly through a school zone," said Cleveland.

The damage wasn't severe, causing only a "half-watermelon-sized" dent in her Jeep's bumper.

"Just the fact that the person purposefully tried to evade me made me upset," said Cleveland.

Her husband Jeff Bowden said what upset him was the fact that the driver never checked to see if people were OK after the collision.

"What really bothers me is ... that it was in a school zone that my son goes to school in, it's about 8:40 a.m., so (it's during) school hours, and he didn't even stop to see if she's OK," said Bowden.

"To tell you the truth, if he had just said, 'Hey, I'm really sorry, it was slippery,' or something like that, it's not a huge deal - but he didn't know if there was kids in the vehicle; maybe my wife wasn't wearing her seat belt and she hit her head on the steering wheel, you know? Just a pretty cowardly thing to do."

She describes the driver as a young male of about 20, wearing a knit hat with tie strings and had what appeared to be dark hair. She wasn't able to get the licence plate number because it was covered with snow, but describes the vehicle as a matte charcoal-grey quad-cab Dodge Ram from approximately 2004 to 2006.

She said she contacted RCMP immediately after the incident and that she is optimistic they will be able to find the driver. "How many dented, grey quad-cab Dodge Rams can there be?" said Cleveland.

They say she hasn't had the damage assessed, and admits it's minor, but stresses that it's the principle of the matter that upsets them.

Const. Kathy Law said collisions often happen this time of year.

"Due to the weather conditions here, I wouldn't say hit and runs are common - we don't get those very often - but there are a lot of collisions due to weather and slippery, icy conditions," said Law.

"We're just asking people to slow down. The roads are icy and if you need to stop quickly, you're better off having a few car-lengths in between you and the vehicle in front of you."

The RCMP is asking for public assistance in tracking down the driver and his vehicle.

E-mailWe welcome your opinions. Click here to e-mail a letter to the editor.