Girl, 4, who died after being hit by car remembered as 'extraordinarily happy' child

A four-year-old girl who died after she and her mother were hit by a car in Winnipeg is being remembered as a lively, happy child who was "extraordinarily loved" by her family. 

Mother suffered extensive lower body injuries but is expected to live

Two teddy bears, one brown and one purple, have been placed at the base of a light pole next to a busy street.
A memorial is pictured Wednesday at the intersection of Isabel Street and Alexander Avenue in Winnipeg, where a four-year-old girl and her mother were struck by a car on Monday. The girl has since died from her injuries. (Warren Kay/CBC)

A four-year-old girl who died after she and her mother were hit by a car in Winnipeg is being remembered as a lively, happy child who was "extraordinarily loved" by her family. 

The woman and girl — newcomers to Canada — were hit while in a crosswalk at Isabel Street and Alexander Avenue around noon Monday.

On Wednesday, the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba (IRCOM) identified the first names of the girl and her mother as Galila and Genet.

Dorota Blumczynska, the executive director of the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba (IRCOM) said she did not know the girl, Galila, personally, but staff at IRCOM did. 

"I know from my colleagues that Galila was very energetic, full of life and extraordinarily happy," she said in an emotional interview with CBC. 

"And I know from just exchanging a few words with the dad, he had such extraordinary hopes for life here. They had waited for so long to come."

IRCOM posted a statement from Blumczynska to their Facebook earlier in the day Wednesday, where they also thanked first responders who tried to save the girl's life. 

"Please know that we are here with you, that all of Winnipeg loves and supports you, and that we can and will help carry even the smallest bit of sorrow with you through these trying times," the statement said.

The girl and her mother were crossing Isabel when they were hit by a car around noon Monday. (Warren Kay/CBC)

Galila and her mother were a block away from Dufferin elementary school, where they were headed to meet the girl's six-year-old brother for a lunch break.

The mother remains in critical but stable condition in hospital and is expected to recover, though she has a long road ahead of her, Blumczynska said.

She said the mother suffered extensive lower body injuries.

The family is from Eritrea and just arrived in the city last month, Blumczynska said.

"You can tell the children are extraordinarily loved, and they're part of a very strong community," she said. 

They spent a decade in refugee camps in Israel and other countries before arriving in Canada and eventually becoming tenants of IRCOM, which runs a transitional housing complex just south of the intersection where the two were hit.

Blumczynska said the girl's father shifts between a state of shock and grief. 

"He weeps from the core of his being and just repeatedly asks why. And there's no answer to that," she said. 

The memorial sits at a crosswalk at the intersection of Isabel and Alexander. (Warren Kay/CBC)

Police are still investigating the incident and have not arrested or charged anyone.

They believe several people may have witnessed it and are asking them to come forward.

As well, they are asking businesses in the area to review their security camera footage and for the drivers of buses, trucks and garbage trucks to check their dash cameras, in case they captured the crash.

Tips can be made to the Winnipeg police traffic division at 204-986-7085 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-TIPS (8477).

IRCOM is hoping to have a memorial gathering at some point, but is waiting for the family's permission. 

If anyone wishes to support the family, they can contact IRCOM, which will make sure any donations are delivered to them, Blumczynska said. 

With files from Alana Cole