Salauddin Chowdhury, 65, identified as victim in fatal Scarborough crash
Family of victim calling for more crosswalks, reduced speed in area
Family members have identified Salauddin Chowdhury, 65, as the victim of a fatal crash that happened in Scarborough Tuesday evening.
Police say he was walking in the area of the area of Danforth Avenue and Pharmacy Avenue just before 9 p.m. when he crossed the street mid-block and was struck by a vehicle less than a block from his home.
He was rushed to hospital, where he died.
Emma Anwar, one of Chowdhury's eight grandchildren, said he was walking home from the mosque when it happened.
Although the father of four died just over a day ago, Anwar said there's already been an overwhelming response from the community.
"All these strangers are coming in saying 'I knew your grandfather,'" Anwar told CBC Toronto Wednesday.
"He was funny. He was really nice. Everyone knew him around here. He talked to everybody."
And he was always walking, she said.
Chowdhury moved to Toronto six years ago from Bangladesh, where friends say he had worked as a city councillor for 18 years.
"[He] never made a complaint against anybody," said Parbez Ahmed, a family member.
He says he was in the hospital until midnight Tuesday night with the rest of the family.
"I miss him a lot."
'For a senior, it's very hard'
Now Anwar hopes the city will make changes to tackle pedestrian safety.
And she says the answer is simple: add more crosswalks.
"There's one down the street, but the other one is so far down," she said. "He was old, so it just takes a little bit longer."
Kaniz Fatima, a family friend, says it's very sad to accept an accident like this.
"For a senior, it's very hard," she said. "Just keep him in your prayers."
Most vulnerable pedestrians are elderly
So far this year, 27 pedestrians have been killed in Toronto — and 10 of those deaths happened in Scarborough, according to Toronto Police Sgt. Brett Moore.
Of those 27 victims, more than 80 per cent were 55 years or older.
"It's [a] fact that a vulnerable person — a senior member of our society — is way over-represented in the statistics, and so that's a demographic that we are focused on and trying to connect with more and more," Moore said.
Now, in an attempt to curb the fatalities, he's encouraging people to talk to their elderly family members or friends about road safety.
"We're kind of reminding people, if you have seniors in your in your life ... have a conversation about walking across the street," Moore said.
"Yes, it's about traffic enforcement. Yes, it's about engineering. Yes, it's about educating and talking to people. But it's also getting people to recognize some of the risky behaviours that we all have. Nobody's perfect."
Speed, alcohol not factors in crash
Moore said there could be "kilometres in between intersections or crosswalks," which is why some people cross mid-block.
And according to Det. Joe Kranjak, that's exactly what happened in the crash that killed Chowdhury.
According to police, a 2012 Mercedes — driven by a 41-year-old man — heading eastbound on the Danforth at 8:46 p.m. hit the victim as he was crossing between intersections.
Kranjak said officers have talked to witnesses and viewed surveillance video, but are still canvassing for more footage.
Although police are still in early stages of the investigation, he said speed and alcohol don't appear to be factors.
No charges have been laid so far in the investigation.
With files from Angelina King and Andrea Janus