British Columbia

Husband of B.C. mom who died saving daughters from runaway van appeals for help

The husband of a woman killed trying to save their daughters from an unoccupied delivery truck is appealing for help.

A witness ran to fatally injured mom and told her the children weren't harmed

Paramjit Massuta, 48, died on Tuesday in Surrey, B.C., when she was hit by a runaway delivery van. (Go Fund Me/Daljit Masutta)

The husband of a woman killed trying to save her eight-year-old daughters from an unoccupied runaway delivery truck in Surrey, B.C., is appealing for help.

On a GoFundMe page, Daljit Masutta says his wife was "heroic" and a dedicated mother who, in her last moments, saved her twin daughters.

"Paramjit was the most beautiful, dedicated mother to twin girls and a loving wife. The family had just bought a new house and were enjoying a wholesome life before this tragedy suddenly took the road from under them all," he writes.

The man who rushed to help after the accident says her death will always replay in his mind.

Police say a pedestrian died on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, after being struck by a rolling cargo truck. (Shane MacKichan)

Jerry Barr was driving his son home from high school Tuesday afternoon when he saw a van headed toward two children who were holding hands.

"I just yelled out, 'Oh my God!" recalled Barr. "The guy is steering towards those kids!" 

The van hit a woman near 144 Street and 61A Avenue in Surrey. Barr says he watched the person who was hit push a child out of the way and then fall.

Barr said he gunned his engine and raced closer, then ran to the stranger's side.

Police say an unoccupied cargo van struck and killed a woman who was walking with her two kids in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday afternoon. (Shane MacKichan)

At first he thought she was a child because she seemed so small. Then when he removed her mask he realized she was an adult. "I just said, the children are OK. The children are OK," said Barr.

He had no idea at the time that he was speaking to the mother of the two girls nearby.

The 48-year-old mother died before her husband Daljit Masutta arrived. In his GoFundMe post, he says she died suddenly of internal injuries.

Surrey RCMP Corp. Joanie Sidhu described the accident as a tragic event. "It's horrific," she said.

Barr learned hours later that he had helped the mother of the two children nearby — he had no idea.

"It's hard," he said. "I just hope she heard me."

Investigators after the crash. (Shane MacKichan)

The mail-order giant Amazon had hired the van as a delivery service. The company issued a statement saying it is working to help police investigate.

"Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the family and loved ones during this difficult time," said the statement.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Yvette Brend is a Vancouver journalist. Yvette.Brend@cbc.ca

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