Witnesses to fatal collision surprised by lack of charges
Two witnesses who say they were on scene the night 17 year-old Joneil Hanna was struck and killed by a vehicle say they are surprised nobody has been held accountable for his death.
One says he was walking with the victim and the other says he was a passenger in the vehicle. Both are still shaken by what they experienced, they say.
“I didn't know what to think at first because I thought it was an animal we hit, until I got out and seen it was him,” says 19-year-old Devon Edwards, who says he was a passenger in the SUV that struck and killed Hanna shortly after 3 a.m. on Sunday, June 10 near Leitches Creek, N.S.
“I was in shock.”
Nathan Arsenault tells CTV Atlantic that he was with Hanna that night and standing on the shoulder. Both were on the phone looking for a ride home.
“I looked away for a second and heard a boom and I knew he was hit,” says Arsenault. “He wasn't there; he was in the ditch up the road.”
Edwards says he has been distraught since the incident.
“I think it about it every night,” he says. “I'm pretty heartbroken actually. He was one of my good buddies. I use to hang out with him.”
Arsenault says he is haunted by what happened that night.
“The driver tried to pull him out of the ditch. He's like ‘Devon, help me get him out of the ditch.’ So they picked him up and put him in the hatch of his actual vehicle and tried to revive him, but they couldn't.”
Minutes after the collision, Edwards says an ambulance was on scene. He says they had been in the area attending another call.
“I rushed them over to Joneil and they started doing CPR on him,” Edwards says. “When I seen that, I started crying. I had to go. I couldn't watch it.”
A rally was held Sunday in front of the police station in Sydney Mines.
Hanna’s family is not happy with the investigation because police did not issue a breathalyzer. Police say it was because officers on the scene had no evidence to indicate that the driver was impaired.
Both men say they've given statements to police. Edwards says in his first statement he didn't want to get anybody in trouble, but later gave a second statement to police.
“I remember Joneil coming up to me at the party,” he said. “He put his arms around me and my girlfriend and told us that he loved us … before anything even happened.”
Police say their investigation is continuing and they have not ruled out laying charges.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.