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Friday, March 08, 2013

Family of 5-year old girl killed by garbage truck speaks out


The family of Kayleigh Callaghan-Belanger gathered at the memorial Friday morning, to grieve and to lay flowers on the corner where the little strawberry-blonde five-year-old was struck and killed by a garbage truck Thursday.
Her father, Jacob Callaghan, straightened a teddy bear among the growing line of flowers and stuffed toys as Kayleigh’s grandmother Carol-Anne Rigby and her two-year-old half brother Joshua looked on.
Kayleigh had a “heavenly smile,” Callaghan told reporters softly. “She loved her sisters.”
“We are devastated.”
He found out what happened over the phone. “I didn’t want to believe it,” he said.
“It could have been prevented.”
It had been some time since he had seen his little girl, he said.
Kayleigh has two younger sisters and her mother is due to give birth within the week, he said.
She was just a block from her home, walking with three other children, when a city garbage truck hit and killed her Thursday afternoon.
Kayleigh was pronounced dead at the scene.
Two of the three other children suffered non-life-threatening injuries and were taken to hospital.
The truck driver, a 62-year-old man, left his vehicle and collapsed from shock when he saw the children. He too was taken to hospital. No charges have been laid.
Cliffside school sits on East Haven Dr. in Scarborough, and the four children — Kayleigh, a 6-year-old boy, 13-year-old girl and another girl around 13 — had just left the school around 3:30 p.m. when the accident occurred.
The kids were crossing Cliffside Dr. from east to west, at East Haven Dr., when the truck, turning east from East Haven on to Cliffside, hit them, police said.
The 6-year-old boy suffered a head injury and the 13-year-old girl a leg injury, Toronto EMS said.
The injured children were taken to hospital and were in serious but stable condition Thursday night. The fourth girl was unharmed from the accident.
At Cliffside on Thursday, officials whispered updates as they struggled with the news. Superintendent Nadira Persaud said it’s a “tragic loss” and asked for privacy.
Liam Middleton, 18, had just left a nearby coffee shop when he heard “screeching” and then a “banging noise.”
“I saw kids lying in the road,” he said. “One’s face was smashed in and there was blood everywhere.”
Amanda Lawryshyn, whose 6-year-old son Thomas is in Kayleigh’s class, said speeding around the school has been an issue in the past.
“I’ve had to yell at people to pay attention and slow down,” she said, adding she signed a local petition recently to reduce the speed limit on East Haven Dr.
Lawryshyn said Kayleigh used to have a crush on Thomas, and would run around trying to kiss him.
“She was just a smiley, happy girl that ran around and had fun,” Lawryshyn said, adding Kayleigh loved to wear all sorts of different dresses.
Ashley Sedjemore, 23, who lives in the area, said speeding garbage trucks in particular have been an issue in the neighbourhood.
“Every time I see them, they’re going too fast,” she said. “They should slow down and take their time.”
Const. Clint Stibbe said it’s too early to say whether speed played a factor in the accident.
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