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NNSL Photo/Graphic

Rani Baksh lies in the surgical ward at Stanton Territorial Hospital, victim of a hit and run incident on April 18 that will keep her in hospital for another six to eight weeks. Anyone with information about the accident should contact the RCMP. - Guy Quenneville/NNSL photo

Slow, painful recovery for hit and run victim

Guy Quenneville
Northern News Services
Friday, May 04, 2007

YELLOWKNIFE - The victim of a hit and run two weeks ago is unable to walk and experiences frequent emotional flashbacks of the accident that will keep her in hospital until June.

Rani Baksh, 50, was walking to work shortly after 8 a.m. April 18 when a vehicle hit her as she crossed 56th Street at 52nd Avenue, breaking her pelvis in two places and causing other injuries.

To Hit and Run Driver:

NNSL Photo/Graphic How could you not see me.
I lay on the cold black asphalt.
How could you not see me?
You went about your daily chores.
You treat me worse than an animal.
If you have one ounce of human dignity, come see me now.NNSL Photo/Graphic

- part of a poem written about the incident by Rani Baksh's husband Moe.

"There was no chance to look or anything. I was hit and thrown onto the vehicle on the driver's side," said Baksh from her bed at the Stanton Territorial Hospital. "The car stopped and the jolt threw me. I stumbled a couple times and landed in the middle of the left lane."

Baksh said she hasn't asked her doctor about the long-term effects of her injuries.

"I don't want to push myself too hard, but I've always been a person who tries for the best. I can't walk yet. They're helping me to sit up and take me to the commode. I still have to learn to stand yet.

"I'm in my pain, and that person is getting away, basically, with a criminal offense."

Speaking to Yellowknifer Wednesday, Baksh said she remembers two vehicles turning onto 56th from 51A Avenue, and that it was the first one, a dark vehicle, high up from the ground, that struck her.

"Definitely not a car," she said.

According to RCMP, witnesses said the driver of the dark vehicle was female, "young in appearance, (with) short dark hair, thin, small stature, and wearing a green sweater or jacket."

RCMP told Baksh last week that no one has come forward to take responsibility.

Baksh said she was disappointed that the driver of the second vehicle, a St. Patrick high school student she knows as Emily, could not provide any helpful information to the RCMP.

The student was the first to approach Baksh as she lay in the street.

"She covered her mouth and said, 'Oh my God!' She was cursing a little bit. And then she said, 'You're going to be OK.'"

Baksh admits that, in her hysteria, she first thought it was the student who ran her down, and asked, "'How can you not see me?'"

What she saw next convinced her the student was not responsible.

"By this time, this car that hit me pulled up to the side of 56th Street. I saw a lady, standing there, nervous as ever, not doing a thing," said Baksh, whose description of the woman conflicted with witness statements. She said she remembers the woman as having shoulder-length, dark brown hair and wearing a blue or black jacket.

"When I looked at the lady, I heard Emily ask her, 'Do you have a phone? Don't just stand there.'

The last thing Baksh remembers before going to the hospital is looking up to where the dark vehicle had been parked.

"When I looked, I didn't see that lady and the vehicle took off."

Baksh said the RCMP told her last week that Emily had come forward after the incident and was not the driver who knocked her down.

Following the accident, a witness told RCMP that she had seen several people around Baksh, including students from nearby Sir John Franklin and St. Patrick high schools, said Const. Roxanne Dreilich.

"It was determined that Emily was not responsible for the incident, only that she had helped provide first aid to Baksh," said Dreilich.

RCMP also interviewed a woman who matched witnesses' descriptions, but concluded that she had nothing to do with the accident, said Dreilich.

"The RCMP told me that they brought in another woman for questioning and that she denied it," said Baksh. "The woman said the reason she left the scene was to make space for the ambulance to come."

Baksh looked out her hospital window, frustration evident in her voice.

"Emily said she didn't see me. The other lady said she didn't hit me. Now I don't know if the RCMP is still looking for this person that hit me. Or what the situation is. I don't know."

Dreilich said police are continuing their investigation.