Dark-coloured SUV sought with missing passenger side mirror and other damage
MANITOWANING – A resident of Manitowaning, out for an evening walk last Friday night, May 14, and suitably wearing reflective gear, was nevertheless the victim of a hit-and-run mishap.
Chris Deforge is fortunate to be alive and able to recount what he recalls of the incident to this newspaper.
He told The Expositor in a Monday interview, following the weekend accident, that he had been walking up Meredith Street toward Highway 6 and was more than halfway up the hill when he noticed headlights coming from behind. Keeping an eye on the direction they were aimed, he noticed they were set on him and he moved in toward the guardrail. To his shock, the vehicle continued following him.
“It hit me from behind and took me out against the guardrails,” he said. “I guess I was knocked out for a little while because when I came to, I noticed two cars stopped at the top of the hill. I called out in a croaky voice, ‘help! Help!’ and I didn’t even notice that there was a woman already there standing over me.” The woman reassured him that everything would be okay and that help was on the way.
The woman was part of a family whose car had been following the vehicle that struck Mr. Deforge, according to Rob Maguire, who was also on the scene that night. It was also this family who was able to identify the hit-and-run vehicle as a dark-coloured SUV and were able to tell the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) that, after striking Mr. Deforge and not stopping, the vehicle turned south onto Highway 6.
Mr. Maguire said he had been at his shop, TerraStar Building Products (beside Henley Boats) that night, getting an early morning pickup ready, when he noticed a vehicle travelling at a higher-than-normal rate of speed up Meredith Street. He then heard a thud followed by screaming. “It was absolutely horrible to hear.”
Mr. Maguire had seen Mr. Deforge on his walk a short time before and noted his reflective gear. “He was very visible,” Mr. Maguire added.
“(Mr. Deforge) is so fortunate it didn’t kill him,” he said. “I’m so happy to know he got away with relatively minor injuries.”
A resident of nearby Walcot Street was outside that evening and heard the screeching of tires and what she described as a “strange sound.” Manitowaning at night is mostly eerily quiet and noise can travel great distances, she said. The woman told The Expositor she thought she heard the sound of a car striking a deer, but 15 minutes later she saw cars at the scene of what she learned was a hit-and-run, near Henley Boats. Passers-by had stopped to assist the wounded pedestrian.
Mr. Deforge was taken to Manitoulin Health Centre where the on-call physician had to set some of his toes back into place. He’s also dealing with torn ligaments. He noted that the pants he was wearing bear a rubber mark from the tire that evidently ran over his foot. Mr. Deforge has an appointment with a foot specialist at Health Sciences North in the coming days, and will likely require surgery.
“I’m in some pretty good pain,” he added.
Manitoulin OPP is looking for public assistance in identifying the vehicle, which is described as a black sport utility vehicle (SUV). As a result of the collision, the SUV is missing its passenger side mirror, and may have damage on the same side.
Anyone with information regarding the person(s) responsible for this incident should immediately contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or their nearest police authority.
Should you wish to remain anonymous, you may call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or submit information online at SudburyCrimeStoppers.com where you may be eligible to receive a cash reward of up to $2,000.