An eight-year-old girl killed in a collision in southwestern Ontario last week was a bright and loving child whose death has devastated her family, the girl’s parents said in their first public remarks since the tragedy.
James and Kathy Stemp issued a written statement in which they express their grief over the death of their daughter Alexandra, who was killed in Tuesday’s crash in London, Ont.
City police have said 10 pedestrians aged six to 40 were struck that evening after a vehicle mounted the curb and collided with a street lamp and a small tree. Alexandra was the only person who died as a result of the crash, while one adult and five children were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
“Our daughter, Alexandra, was a brilliant and vivacious little girl with a terrific sense of humour,” reads the Stemp family statement. “She was a talented artist who loved her older brother with all of her heart.”
The Girl Guides of Canada said its members were among the pedestrians involved in the crash.
James and Kathy Stemp said their hearts go out to the “Brownie leaders” and to the other girls and parent volunteers who are still recovering from their injuries.
“There is no doubt that the emotional scars from the events of Tuesday night will take much longer to heal than any physical injuries sustained,” they wrote.
They also said they feel the “love and support of the community,” noting they wish to express their thanks to the emergency crews that assisted at the scene of the crash, as well as the staff at the London Health Sciences Centre.
“Your compassionate care for our daughter and our family will never be forgotten,” the Stemps wrote.
By Sunday morning, a fundraiser for the Stemp family had raised upwards of $18,000.
The GoFundMe page description said the fundraiser was set up in an effort to send “support to this grieving family, especially during this holiday which will be especially tough.”
London Mayor Ed Holder said in a social media post Friday that he directed London City Hall and other City buildings be “illuminated in Girl Guides of Canada blue” throughout the weekend in honour of the young victim.
Holder said the colour blue, specifically a blue candle, is a symbol of friendship and togetherness for Girl Guides around the world.
The mayor encouraged residents to safely light a blue candle on their porch or place something blue in their windows to show their support.
“While we pay tribute to the young girl, and grieve with her family, I ask that Londoners also keep those who continue to recover in hospital in their thoughts,” he added.
Investigators have said there is no indication the crash was deliberate.
No charges have been laid at this time, and police have said the driver _ a 76-year-old woman _ was not among those taken to hospital.
Community members have said the incident is particularly hard to stomach after a Muslim family out for an evening stroll was run down earlier this year in what police called a deliberate, hate-motivated act. Four members of that family died.
Nathaniel Veltman, 20, is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder in what prosecutors allege was an act of terrorism. His next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 15.
The June 6 incident killed Salman Afzaal, 46, his 44-year-old wife Madiha Salman, their 15-year-old daughter Yumna and her 74-year-old grandmother, Talat Afzaal. The couple’s nine-year-old son, Fayez, was seriously hurt.