'He was just a wonderful, loving person,' family member says of man killed in crosswalk
HALIFAX -- David Gass loved to walk. It was while walking home last week that a truck hit him in a crosswalk on Young Street and Kempt Road in Halifax's north end. Gass died from his injuries a few days later.
"I think there was this disbelief that this thing could happen and actually result in him passing away," said Lisa Lachance, Gass' daughter-in-law.
Lachance describes the 75-year-old as a dedicated doctor and family man. He was a long time educator at Dalhousie University and came from a long line of family doctors.
In an online tribute, the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Nova Scotia College of Family Physicians said they "have lost a friend, a mentor, an individual who stood for the values of family medicine and what it means to be a compassionate family physician."
"He was just a wonderful, loving person. We've received all kinds of lovely messages from work colleagues and people in medicine across Canada, but for us he was dad, dad-in-law for me, and granddad," Lachance said.
The driver of the pickup truck that hit Dr. Gass Tuesday morning was ticketed for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a sidewalk – a summary offence.
"It's rather common. It doesn't mean that under further investigation they can't raise or lay additional charges," said Ray Wagner, a personal injury lawyer.
Halifax Regional Police said police need to take their direction from the motor vehicle act and the criminal code and in relation to what charges can be laid.
"At this point in our investigation, our investigators based on the evidence and information that they have they'd laid the charges that are supported by the evidence that they have," Macleod said.
"Certainly if there's anyone out there that has information that we ask that they reach out to us and we can certainly look into that."
Lachance said the family realizes the driver's life has also been severely impacted by the incident.
"We've all learned compassion and patience from David," she said.
Through their grief, the family is focused on crosswalk safety.
"I have heard from so many people about that particular intersection where they have not felt safe or have been hit or have almost been hit in that intersection," Lachance said.
Maggie-Jane Spray, a Halifax city spokesperson, said there have been two other pedestrian collisions at this intersection over the past five years. Their records don't indicate which side of the intersection the collisions took place but in one of the previous two collisions, a pedestrian was injured.
Lachance said Gass was in favour of evidence-based solutions and finding out what are solvable problems.
"There's lots of things you can't solve in life but this one it feels like you could."
Lindell Smith, the councillor for Peninsula North, said he hadn't received any inquiries about the intersection at Young Street and Kempt Road before the tragic collision last week.
"At the location where the fatal accident happened, this is already a signalized intersection, so a Leading Pedestrian Interval (LPI) may be an improvement that could help with safer crossings for pedestrians," Smith said. "I am also in support of eliminating right turns on reds as well, this is a driving maneuver that causes huge concern."
Halifax's spokesperson said the municipality will await the findings of the investigation before exploring next steps for further pedestrian safety measures at the intersection. In 2018, Regional Council approved the goal of a 20 percent reduction of fatal and injury collisions by 2023.