Hit-and-run charges

Police have charged an Ottawa man in connection with a hit-and-runcollision involving five cyclists in the city’s west end Sunday morning.

Police have charged an Ottawa man in connection with a hit-and-run collision involving five cyclists in the city’s west end Sunday morning.

Sommit Luangpakham, 45, faces five counts of failure to stop at the scene of an accident causing bodily harm. He appeared in court yesterday.

Police said more charges are pending on the completion of the investigation.

“The cause of the collision is still under investigation,” said Ottawa police Const. Al Boucher.

“It takes a while before officers can accurately determine what occurred. They have to look at things like speed, fatigue, alcohol and determine his whereabouts prior to the collision.”

Five cyclists suffered serious to life-threatening injuries after a vehicle struck them on March Road at 7:50 a.m. The vehicle left the scene of the collision, but a driver later turned himself in, police said.

The victims included a man in his late 30s who suffered a closed-head injury and significant brain injuries; a 27-year-old woman, a 36-year-old man, a 39-year-old man and a 45-year-old woman.

Boucher said yesterday one victim remains in critical condition, while the others are in serious condition.

While Ottawa drivers are “generally pretty good” at sharing the road with cyclists and the city is pretty bike-friendly, “there are always things that could be done,” said Citizens for Safe Cycling past president Charles Akben-Marchand.

“There are places where there is no safe place to ride between one area and another,” he said. “We call these missing links in the cycling network.”

Robert Norris, who lives near the area where the collision occurred, said the speed limit along March Road should to be reduced from 80 to 60 km/h.

“There needs to be more of a culture of safety when it comes to cycling in general,” said Akben-Marchand.

But there are always exceptional cases, he said.

“It was broad daylight, five experienced cyclists and there was a bike lane,” he said. “We don’t know what happened in this incident.”

 
 
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