Billboards with photos of the car suspected of being involved in a fatal hit and run of a cyclist last summer near Gasoline Alley were recently installed along three busy routes in Red Deer in the hope of identifying the driver.
On July 6, 2022, Heather Lawrence, 45, of Red Deer, died at the scene after she was struck by a vehicle in Red Deer County, south of 40 Avenue at McKenzie Road.
RCMP Sgt. Brandon Humbke, with Central Alberta GIS, said hit and runs are difficult to solve, but he was very hopeful that someone in the Red Deer area will recognize the car.
“There’s somebody that knows something about this. Through this campaign we hope to generate that information,” said Humbke whose unit is assisting Blackfalds RCMP in the investigation.
The car is described as a 1999 to 2003 Mazda Protégé, dark Green in colour, with heavy black tinted windows, aftermarket fog lights and exhaust, chrome five spoke rims, no emblems and a roof mounted antenna.
Billboards were put up on 51 Avenue (Gaetz Avenue) south of 52 Street; on 55 Avenue west of 45 Street; and on Taylor Drive south of 67 Street.
Lawrence’s brother Shane said finding the driver responsible won’t bring Heather back, but it would give them some small solace in this awful situation.
He said her friends have done a lot to raise awareness and his family talked about a billboard campaign for awhile before deciding to do it.
“We would always wonder if it would have made a difference. So rather than have that kind of regret, we thought that this was the best course of action,” said Shane standing across the street from the billboard on 55 Avenue.
He said Heather was an avid cyclist and died doing what she loved. In addition to being a member of the cycling community, she was also involved in local theatre.
“She was compassionate. She was family focused. She was dedicated to her job,” he said about his sister who was a pediatric physiotherapist.
“She was someone who cared a lot about the place that she was, here in Red Deer. She cared about the people.”
Anyone with information regarding the hit and run, or those responsible, is asked to contact Blackfalds RCMP at 403-885-3300. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), online at www.P3Tips.com, or by using the “P3 Tips” app available through the Apple App or Google Play Store.
Tara Nielsen, president of Central Alberta Crime Stoppers, said Crime Stoppers gives people the opportunity to provide information without the fear of retaliation.
“It also provides further incentive to do the right thing by offering cash rewards up to $2,000 for information leading to an arrest, recovery of stolen property, or seizure of illegal drugs,” Nielsen said.