Witness describes ‘punching match’ before collision with bus that left man critically injured

A collision between a TransLink short bus and a pedestrian was preceded by an altercation between the victim and another man, according to police and witnesses at the scene.

The victim remains in hospital with life-threatening injuries, said Burnaby RCMP Cpl. Mike Kalanj.

It happened around 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, near the intersection of Hastings Street and Carleton Street in North Burnaby.

“They started getting into a punching match, and then all I saw, [one of them] falls and tries to get up, tries to attack him again,” said Vicki Dhillon, who was finishing work at a nearby shop when the collision happened.

“Then he falls back, and the bus comes flying out of nowhere and the guy got hit on the side of the bus.

“It hit him pretty hard, I thought he was dead.”

Kalanj said according to witnesses, the 33-year-old victim and a 62-year-old man were involved in an altercation of some type.

“During the altercation, one of the men entered the roadway and was struck by a transit bus. How the man entered the road is still under investigation,” said Kalanj.

“We want to determine if the man was in the roadway as a result of the altercation, or whether it was something else.”

Two people were arrested at the scene — the 62-year-old, and a witness who was later released. No charges have been laid. It remains unclear if the two people in the altercation knew each other.

Kalanj said the bus driver is not under investigation, and has received trauma counselling. He said witnesses were also deeply disturbed by the incident.

“It wasn’t pretty. It’s not pretty,” he said.

Burnaby Deputy Fire Chief Dave Samson said firefighters were on the scene of the collision almost immediately, thanks to a fire hall being kitty-corner to the accident scene.

He said a firefighter ran over on foot and began performing CPR, and rode with the victim to hospital in the ambulance.

Burnaby RCMP are now looking for more witnesses and appealing for anyone with dash cam video shot in the area to submit it to police.

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