MISSION, BRITISH COLUMBIA-The driver of a truck has turned himself in after he is alleged to have hit four people who were marching in Mission, B.C., to draw attention to residential schools, RCMP say.
Mounties said in a news release Monday that the 77-year-old man is not in custody but is co-operating with investigators, and his truck has been seized for examination following the march on Saturday.
Police say the March for Recognition for Residential Schools temporarily blocked the only eastbound travel lane of the Lougheed Highway as a large group made its way to the site of the former St. Mary’s residential school.
The man learned through the news media that police were looking for him and turned himself in, the release says.
RCMP have previously said they were called after an “impatient” driver tried to get around the march, resulting in “minor injuries.”
But now, they say a bystander called when a fight was about to break out, and police only learned upon arrival that the pickup truck had driven through the group of demonstrators.
The release says investigators still need more details and are specifically looking for the driver of a single-unit dump truck or semi truck that was behind the pickup truck in question.
“This has been a traumatizing event for the people involved in the March, as well as the wider community, and police are working hard to gather all of the evidence to help to bring some answers and some closure to everyone involved,” Const. Harrison Mohr said.
“Like any criminal investigation, we need to let the evidence guide the investigation, and that’s why we’re continuing to ask for more witnesses to come forward.”
On Sunday, Mission RCMP said in a news release: “There is no indication that this incident was targeted, or that the driver’s actions had anything specifically to do with the people marching or their cause.”
That release can no longer be seen on the Mission RCMP website.
Troy Ingraldi took part in the march and said he watched the truck driver pull into a turnout before trying to pass the group.
He said in an interview on Sunday that he tried to stop the driver because there were children and elders around, and the driver began yelling expletives and telling the group they shouldn’t be on the road.
Ingraldi alleged the man told the group he would run them off the road.
“That’s when he ended up hitting me with the front driver side of his vehicle,” Ingraldi said. “It kind of dragged me a little bit underneath and then pushed me off to the side of the truck.”
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
Ashton Edwards, who was helping run the march as part of the Crazy Indians Brotherhood, said in a previous interview that he heard on a hand-held radio that Ingraldi had been hit, and then he saw the truck weaving towards him.
Edwards said a man in front of him was jumped up, bending over the hood. He said he tried to pull the man off the hood, and that’s when he was struck and spun around. The man then drove off, he said.
Police said in a news release issued Sunday that the truck made contact with four people and they described the injuries as minor.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 6, 2022.