Family grieving death of 15-year-old boy killed in hit and run
The parents of a 15-year-old boy from the R.M. of St. Andrews killed in a hit and run near Lockport said their lives have been destroyed by the death of their son.
Ben Harris and a friend were riding bicycles Friday night near Harris’s home when RCMP say the two boys were hit by an alleged drug-impaired driver in a stolen vehicle.
A 29-year-old Calgary man has been charged in connection with the collision which has left a family grieving the loss of a boy they say had a passion for music and playing guitar.
"It's been absolutely devastating and we will never get over this,” said Ben’s dad, John Harris. “We'll always be waiting for Ben to come home."
At the law courts, Harris and his family wanted to see the man accused in their son's death, but didn't see him make an appearance.
The night of the collision John and his wife Brenda saw and heard emergency vehicles, a helicopter and a dog around their home, but thought their son and his friend were safe in the family's camper.
"Then, I don't know, shortly after that we had a knock on the door from the police giving us the news that Ben was gone,” said John. “He'd been hit by a driver."
According to RCMP, Harris and a friend were riding their bikes on the shoulder of Donald Road near highway 9 in the R.M. of St. Andrews around 11:45 at night.
Investigators say a vehicle veered off the roadway, striking the boys, throwing them into the ditch. Harris's friend survived, but was hurt and remains in hospital in stable condition.
It was only minutes earlier RCMP had received a complaint of an erratic driver near the same location operating a vehicle similar in description to the one involved in the collision.
"The officer happened to be within a couple kilometres behind where this vehicle was at the time,” said RCMP Sgt. Paul Manaigre. “He attended that location hoping to come up behind him when he came across this collision."
RCMP Police Dog Services tracked a suspect shortly after a witness saw a man leaving the scene of the collision.
14 charges have been laid against Justin Joseph Little, 29, of Calgary including drug-impaired driving causing death and drug impaired driving causing bodily harm.
Officers wouldn't say what drug they believe was involved or why they suspect the man was impaired.
"That forms part of the investigation and some analysis will be made and those details will come out in court,” said Manaigre.
A legal process the Harris family plans to attend every time it's in court.
They say because their son can't be there, they want to be there for him.
"He was the best son that parents could have,” said John Harris. “He'll be missed forever."
Collision survivor “doing fine”
Family has identified the survivor of the collision as 15-year-old Nic Murray.
Mark Murray told CTV News his son is doing fine and hopes that he can visit with the Harris family soon.
“Nic is still in hospital, however he is expected to be home tonight or tomorrow,” Mark wrote in an email to CTV News. “Nic will never forget the friendship he had with Ben and it will be a long road of recovery for Nic, both mentally and physically.”
“The Murray family wish to express their sincere condolences to the Harris’s and hope they know that they are in our thoughts and prayers.”