The Splatsin First Nation is pushing the Ministry of Transportation to install a traffic light at the crosswalk where band member Harry Joseph Jones Jr. was killed by a vehicle on Canada Day.
Jones was killed while crossing Highway 97A at the marked crosswalk at Canyon Road near the Quilakwa gas station around noon Saturday, July 1.
In a press release, a spokesperson for Splatsin said the driver of a Subaru Impreza failed to acknowledge the crosswalk, fatally striking Jones.
“This tragic event has severely impacted our entire community,” said Splatsin Coun. Sabrina Vergata. “We are all in mourning for our dear Harry, who was simply trying to cross the road at a designated crosswalk.”
Jones, 62, was well-known in the community as a kind person, a talented artist and a colourful personality. He was an active participant in many of the band’s activities.
Splatsin is now asking the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to install a traffic light at the crosswalk of Canyon Road and Highway 97A.
“It is absolutely unacceptable that this preventable tragedy occurred,” said Vergata. “This outcome is a direct result of poor crosswalk lighting. For such a busy highway, a regular set of traffic lights is needed as soon as possible to ensure that pedestrians may safely cross in the future and tragedies like this do not happen again.”
Memorial services for Jones are scheduled over the next several days and everyone is welcome to attend. A wake will take place today (July 7) at 5 p.m. at the Splatsin Community Centre, where Jones’ artwork will be on display. A funeral and burial will take place Monday, July 10 at the Splatsin Cemetery.