NEWS

Funeral for girl struck by garbage truck draws hundreds

03/13/2013 02:36 EDT | Updated 05/13/2013 05:12 EDT
Hundreds of people filed into a Scarborough church on Wednesday to say goodbye to Kayleigh Callaghan-Belanger, a five-year-old girl who died last week after being hit by a garbage truck.

Friends and family carried both white and pink roses as they remembered the girl they called "little angel" at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic church, the CBC's Peter Akman reported.

"It is hard... We have lost a child, a beautiful child," Jim Patton, Kayleigh's step-grandfather, told reporters.

Kayleigh's grandmother, Debby Belanger, called the five-year-old "my baby."

"I had her all the time," she said. "I had her on weekends, she slept with me, she has a garden in my home."

The five-year-old was crossing the street with three other children last Thursday when she was hit by the garbage truck near Midland Avenue and Kingston Road.

She was pronounced dead at the scene. Two other children — a six-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl — were taken to hospital with minor injuries, and the fourth child was not injured.

Police say the driver of the truck was turning left onto Cliffside Drive at the time the children were struck.

Many in the neighbourhood have placed flowers and stuffed animals in Kayleigh's memory near the spot where the collision happened, at the intersection of Cliffside Drive and East Haven Drive.

Patton said they planned to take down the memorial on Thursday, to allow Kayleigh's family, friends, and the community to move on.

"It's an accident, and our family understands that it was an accident. We're going to do our best to move on as a group and a community," he said.

Still, Patton said he's concerned for other children in the community, and he hopes that lessons can be learned from their tragedy.

"We lost Kayleigh. It's not ok," he said. "But if another child dies, we failed Kayleigh as human beings. We need to fix this problem, more than just in my community."

Some in the community have said there are not enough sidewalks and lights to keep the children safe, the CBC's Peter Akman reported.

At the moment, there is a four-way stop sign at the intersection.

A petition has been started to try to get the sidewalks extended, or a traffic light, or a crossing guard for the intersection.

MORE:cbcNews