The Morley man charged with being behind the wheel during a fatal hit and run was on bail for dangerous driving when the crash occurred, CBC News has learned.
Police allege Fergus Hunter, 19, was driving the van that rammed a car on the Trans-Canada Highway on Calgary's western limits on May 3.
Eleasha Wesley, 10, died after she was thrown from her family's 1998 Pontiac Grand Am. She was not wearing a seatbelt at the time.
Following a public plea from both the victim’s family and police, officers located the red 2002 Kia Sedona van in Morley, Alta., on the Stoney Nakoda First Nation.
Hunter, 19, was arrested Tuesday and charged with hit and run and dangerous operation of a motorized vehicle causing death.
Traffic Section Acting Sgt. Colin Foster said the suspect was currently on bail for other driving offences at the time of the crash.
Family shocked by arrest
Hunter's aunt, Cheryl Brown, said he was living in Calgary. He had just got out of remand and had to comply with a series of strict conditions, including a curfew and calls from a probation officer.
"I'm shocked," she said on Wednesday. "I hadn't even heard about it yet."
Brown described her nephew as a nice kid. She said they are related to the victim through her husband's side of the family.
"I would like to ask him what happened," said Brown. "He wasn't supposed to be even driving."
Charges laid in the past
"He was currently on bail for similar offences but not involving death," Foster said.
Hunter was charged in November 2011 with dangerous driving causing bodily harm after the stolen van he was allegedly driving hit one person just moments before an assault at a home broke out in Morley.
He was also charged in September 2011 for allegedly driving a vehicle into a liquor store, Cochrane RCMP said.
Those charges remain before the courts.
A difficult investigation
Both Eleasha Wesley and the accused are from the Stoney reserve.
Foster said the most recent case was frustrating as officers struggled to get people to talk on record.
"Morley is a very close-knit community," Foster said. "For reasons unknown to myself, they've not been prepared to go on record. We’ve had lots of anonymous information, which has been great to build the picture, but it's taken us a while to corroborate that information which led us to the arrest yesterday."
Hunter will make his first court appearance on the May 3 crash Thursday morning in Calgary.