British Columbia

Selina Hanuse's death recalled as ICBC launches fall safety campaign

14 years ago, North of 60 actor Selina Hanuse was struck and killed while crossing Nanaimo and E 24 Avenue in a crosswalk.

Selina Hanuse hit and struck in crosswalk in 2000; ICBC says worst time of year for pedestrian accidents

Nora Hanuse, who lost her sister Selina 14 years ago when she was struck in a crosswalk, says everyone is in a rush. (CBC)

14 years ago, North of 60 actor Selina Hanuse was struck and killed while crossing Nanaimo and E 24 Avenue in a crosswalk. 

The driver raced through a yellow light on a cold and wet day in January. The 17-year-old was about to start college.

It's a scene that plays itself out far too often every fall says the auto insurer.

On average, ICBC says 76 per cent more pedestrians are injured in crashes from November to January each year when conditions are dark and the weather is poor.

Hanuse's sister Nora says Selina was headed to the SkyTrain to deliver a Christmas present to a friend when she was struck in the crosswalk.

"32 tonnes of metal hit my sister...made her fly more than, I think it was about, 100 feet. She was so mangled that they wouldn't let us view her body. They verified her with a picture and her dental work."

Even after all these years, recalling it brings Nora Hanuse to tears. She says her message to other drivers at this time of year is simply, slow down. She says everybody, including pedestrians, are in a rush.

"They just assume cars are going to slow down and they don't slow down. And people get hurt and people die this way."

A pedestrian is rushed to a waiting air ambulance after being struck while crossing the street in Abbotsford Oct 21. (CBC)

On Tuesday, on the same day ICBC was launching its fall safety campaign, an 18-year-old man was struck while crossing the street in Abbotsford and injured seriously enough to be airlifted to hospital.

Although speeding is an issue, the second leading cause of pedestrian fatalities is distraction, says ICBC. Drivers need to be paying full attention to the road, particularly in poor visibility or weather.

ICBC says its new campaign this year will feature advertising on buses and the SkyTrain, aimed at pedestrians. Volunteers will also be handing out pedestrian safety reflectors throughout the province.

With files from the CBC's Farrah Merali