Vigil held for victim of Route 102 collision
Alysha Paul was struck and killed by a pickup truck on Sept. 7.
To get to Alysha Paul's vigil, members of the Kingsclear First Nation had to cross the same busy highway she was crossing when she was struck and killed by a pickup truck on Sept. 7.
On Friday evening around 50 people stood in a circle, singing and drumming in Paul's honour. She was 27 years old, and left behind three children and a grieving community.
"This is the worst pain I've ever had to go through in my life," said the young woman's mother, Laurie Paul. "I don't want anybody, anybody in my community or anywhere to ever have to go through what I'm going through. I have three grandchildren who are without their mom and it could have been prevented."
Members were wearing purple shirts — Paul's favourite colour — with the slogan #lyshaslaw emblazoned in white letters across the front.
Hoping for improved highway safety
The community wants her death to be a wake up call.
Route 102 runs through the reserve, with an equal number of members on either side. Across the highway also stands a gas station and convenience store, and people often have to cross the dark highway at night to get to the store if they can't get a ride.
"We want to make everyone aware in our area, not even our area … we need a safer crossing," said Laurie Paul. "We need a safer crossing, we need lighting, we need lower speed, that's it."
Earlier in September, a community member took it upon himself to put up a 60 kilometres per hour speed limit sign, because he believes the 100 km per hour limit along that stretch is too high.
Department of Transportation and Infrastructure spokesperson Jeremy Trevors said the department is providing logistical support for improved safety measures along the highway, but the First Nation is "taking the lead."
"Over the past several weeks, senior staff from the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure have been working with Chief Gabriel Atwin and his engineering consultant," Trevors said.
Kingsclear councillor Patrick Polchies said the First Nation is trying to raise the funds for highway fencing to encourage people to cross at consistent places, as well as a pedestrian underpass.
"We would very much what like to see what we have proposed … changes as quickly as possible," he said.
Polchies said they hope to start roadwork in four weeks, if the weather co-operates.
"By next year, yes, but I would like to see it by next month. This is a horrible tragedy, there's nothing I can say beyond that."
The department didn't indicate whether it would reduce the speed limit on the highway.
In 2015, 28-year-old Robbie Polchies was struck by a car on the same stretch. He sustained broken ribs and a cracked skull.
RCMP have ruled out drugs and alcohol in both cases.