Toronto

Police release video that re-enacts fatal Scarborough hit and run

Toronto police are hoping a newly released video will help them find the driver responsible for a hit and run that killed a woman in Scarborough this past summer.

Celeste Jones, 34, struck and killed on Sheppard Avenue in August, police seeking driver

Toronto police are seeking the driver of a vehicle that struck and killed Celeste Jones, 34, on Sheppard Avenue East, near Abbotsfield Gate, on Aug. 30 at about 10:25 p.m. She was found without vital signs and died at the scene. (Toronto Police Service)

Toronto police are hoping a newly released video will help them find the driver responsible for a hit and run that killed a woman in Scarborough this past summer.

Celeste Jones, 34, was struck by a vehicle on Sheppard Avenue East, near Abbotsfield Gate, on Aug. 30 at about 10:25 p.m. She was found without vital signs and died at the scene.

Police believe the vehicle that struck Jones is a 2007 to 2009 model Mitsubishi Lancer, dark or metallic grey, with fog lamps and a loud or modified muffler. It was moving at a high speed in the centre turn lane when it hit Jones. Police believe the collision damaged its windshield. 

Det. Brett Moore, of Toronto police traffic services, says in the video that investigators are trying to jog the memories of body shop or wrecking yard owners and employees about whether they saw any vehicles similar to the description and that had front-end damage.

If they repaired such a vehicle, they are urged to come forward.

"That vehicle is going to have a damaged or broken front windshield because we found glass shards in Celeste's clothes," Moore says.

The Crime Stoppers re-enactment video, released by police on Thursday, shows a female actor dressed in black walking along the road, looking both ways, then walking to the centre lane. The driver approaches her, then the video fades to black at the moment she is struck. 

"Celeste Jones is the victim of a traffic crime that could have happened to anybody," Moore says in the video. "Not a lot is known about our suspect driver, but we have plenty of information, because of the help of the Centre for Forensic Sciences, about the suspect vehicle."

'You need to do right,' father tells driver

In the video, Clayton Jones, her father, urges the driver to surrender to police.

"Celeste was a special gift to us, she was like God's gift to us," her father says. "And so to that driver, I say, you need to do right; you need to do the proper thing to turn yourself in, to come forward, to speak to the authorities. Let's put closure to this case so that we can all feel better about it."

Police said Jones left her house at 10:20 p.m. that night to catch a bus to her night shift job and was struck in the centre turn lane. She was crossing Sheppard Avenue East from the south to the north side to get to the bus stop and was believed to be waiting for a break in westbound traffic. 

The vehicle was travelling eastbound on Sheppard Avenue East when it struck her. 

Police have already released video footage that they believe shows the suspect vehicle travelling east on Sheppard in the centre turn lane at a high speed, after striking Jones.

Video part of police safety campaign

According to police, the release of the video is part of the awareness and enforcement safety for pedestrians campaign that runs until Sunday.

In a news release on Wednesday, Crime Stoppers Toronto coordinator Det. Dimitrios Tsianos said anyone who has information should come forward.

"This incident has impacted many people," Tsianos said.

"I urge you if you know something about this case or have seen the vehicle involved please call police, or if you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers."

Anyone with information can remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers Toronto at 416-222-TIPS (8477).

Toronto police officers at the scene of the fatal hit and run on August 30, 2019. (Jeremy Cohn/CBC)