British Columbia

'She was like an angel': Burnaby father mourns daughter killed in crash

Lutfullah Behzad says his daughter Muska had dreams of becoming a doctor.

The teen was honoured by hundreds at a funeral service on Monday

Lutfullah Behzad holds a photo of his daughter Muska Behzad, 14, at his Burnaby home on Wednesday, May 11. Muska was struck and killed by a dump truck near her school last week. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Lutfullah Behzad remembers the moment he learned his daughter Muska had been involved in a collision.

"Your mind tells you something, that it could be my daughter, and suddenly the ground was slipping out of my foot," he said. "How hard it is when I heard this news."

Fourteen-year-old Muska was struck and killed by a dump truck as she was walking home from Byrne Creek Community School in Burnaby.

Muska immigrated from Afghanistan to B.C. with her mother and siblings in 2020 to be with her father.

Lutfullah Behzad describes his daughter as 'an angel' who looked out for her family, including her younger brothers. He said she had dreams of becoming a doctor. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Behzad said his daughter was mature beyond her years, spending her days caring for her two younger brothers.

"She was like an angel," Behzad said. 

He said Muska had dreams of becoming a doctor, in part so she could earn a good living and support her family.

"She would think about us," he said. "She'd say, 'I really want a good life for you, a good future for you.'"

The teen was honoured by hundreds at a funeral service on Monday.

Concerns about the circumstances surrounding her death remain, namely a nearby construction project that has been at the centre of safety issues. 

In November, another girl was hit by a minivan in the same location, and in 2020, a worker was crushed to death. Police have issued more than 100 tickets to commercial vehicle drivers in the area.

A marking on the wall made by Muska Behzad, 14, in the family's Burnaby home. Muska immigrated to B.C. with her mother and siblings in 2020 to join her father. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The construction company, Ledingham McAllister & Marcon, claims it followed safety requirements.

The City of Burnaby said Wednesday that it will install a temporary sidewalk along the south side of 11th Avenue between 15th and 17th Street this summer with plans for a permanent sidewalk. It said it is also looking at other traffic calming and safety measures.

It went on to say it will make any necessary changes if an RCMP investigation finds the City could have done something differently to avoid such a tragedy.