The family of a 10-year-old girl fatally struck by a car in Vaughan in early September says the experience has been like a nightmare they can’t wake up from.
“It was a shiny, shiny day like today, it’s not the rain you can see everything from both directions like in my head I still can’t understand how it happened and this is 100 per cent preventable,” Nikita Belykh’s father, Michael Belykh, told Global News on Thursday.
Nikta was riding her bicycle home along the sidewalk with a friend after a swim lesson at the North Thornhill Community Centre on Pleasant Ridge Avenue at around 10:45 a.m. on Sept. 1 when police officers said she was struck by a Hyundai Santa Fe. Investigators said the driver was leaving the community centre’s parking lot.
“Eleven o’clock, I got a phone call from my wife [that] Nikita was hit by the car but you don’t … you’re just running … I work around the corner. I’m thinking maybe a broken leg, a couple of scratches. This is the safest area, it’s a community scene,” Michael said.
When he arrived at the hospital, Michael learned Nikita was in critical condition. She died of her injuries the following day.
Investigators said the driver remained on scene and is cooperating with the investigation.
Michael said he, his wife and older daughter, Mary, came to Canada in 2002 from Russia in search of a better life. He said in 2011 when Nikita was born, the family became complete.
“We were waiting for 16 years to have this baby. Then finally we get it, and all our friends, we were jumping to the ceiling,” he said, calling her their “miracle” daughter.
Nikita spoke three languages — English, Russian and French — and was about to start Grade 5 in French immersion. Her family said she loved animals and cared about the environment. The family said they’re at a loss without Nikita.
However, they said they are grateful for the outpouring of love and support from the community. A GoFundMe was created to support the family. As of Thursday evening, it raised more than $54,000.
A makeshift memorial has been building at the scene filled with flowers and notes as well as Nikita’s favourite toys like fidgets.
“Drivers, guys please, you are driving the vehicle, this is the kind of weapon because of the weight, height, speed, you have the weapon in your hand, so please be careful with this weapon,” Michael said.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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