British Columbia

Charges laid in death of international student in Prince George, B.C.

Support staff are on hand for students and staff after a student was struck and killed by a vehicle while walking near the Prince George, B.C., campus of the College of New Caledonia.

Woman arrested for impaired driving after pedestrian struck on Highway 97 near college campus

A memorial has been set up at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George, B.C., after a student died when she was hit by a vehicle along Highway 97 near campus. (Nicole Oud/CBC)

A 47-year-old woman has been charged with impaired driving causing the death of Sandeep Kaur, an international student from the Punjab region of India who only recently arrived in Canada to study at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George, B.C.

At around 4:40 p.m. PT Wednesday afternoon, police responded to multiple calls of a female pedestrian hit by a vehicle on Highway 97 adjacent to the college campus.

She was taken to hospital in serious condition but pronounced dead on arrival.

The driver remained on the scene and was arrested.

RCMP have now charged Michelle Dac with impaired driving causing death.

Victim a recent arrival to Canada

Kaur was identified by fellow students and a memorial set up at the college with a book of messages to send to her family.

She was a recent arrival to Canada, said Harman Dandiwal of the College of New Caledonia's students' union.

"She just came a few months ago," he said. "I feel sorry for the family."

Local businessman TJ Grewal, who employs one of Kaur's friends, said he's been in touch with her family to offer his support.

He said her father broke down in tears when he heard the news.

"He's a truck driver, and he had earned every penny [to] send her to Canada for a better life," he said.

A memorial has been set up at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George, B.C., after a student died after being hit by a vehicle along Highway 97 near campus. (Nicole Oud/CBC)

Grewal said he is waiting to hear whether Kaur's parents want to travel to Prince George and if he can support them financially.

"We want to help any way we can," he said.

Dandiwal said the students' union is putting together an official fundraiser through the college in order to support Kaur's family, as well.

College president Henry Reiser said he was in shock over the news.

"It's difficult not only for me but for students, her classmates, her roommates, and also our employees," he said.

Support services have been set up on campus, along with a memorial and book of condolences to be signed and given to the student's family.

Road safety an issue for international students

Dandiwal also said he is lobbying for the college to provide more education around traffic safety for international students.

He said based on his own experience as an international student, it can be confusing upon arriving in Canada to understand new rules and would like to see in-depth orientation sessions.

The College of New Caledonia campus in Prince George, B.C. is directly beside Highway 97. Students are calling for improved pedestrian crossings after a woman was hit by a vehicle and killed Wednesday. (Andrew Kurjata/CBC)

"If you're bringing a lot of international students, it becomes more of a social responsibility," he said. 

He also said the students' union will be asking the Ministry of Transportation to make it easier for pedestrians to cross Highway 97 between the college campus and a series of restaurants and businesses on the other side of the road.

"A lot of people use it all the time, and a lot of people jaywalk there," he said. "I think we need a permanent solution."

With files from Nicole Oud