South Osborne residents speak out after neighbour is killed while crossing

Residents of Fred Tipping Place in South Osborne are speaking out about poor traffic management after a longtime resident was hit by a car while crossing the street Sunday night.

He was walking down Osborne Street close to Bartlet Avenue, when he was hit.

The 78-year-old was then rushed to the hospital, but later died from his injuries.

While police have yet to identify the man, several residents who live in the same apartment building on South Osborne say his name was Jim Aitkenhead.

Jim was a very nice man. Four years since I moved here. He was one of the first guys I spoke to when I moved here and he was helpful in getting me really settled in and stuff like that,” said William Dubois, Neighbour.

“We’ve probably pretty much-been friends ever since.”

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Residents say the traffic outside of the building has been an ongoing problem.

Dubois told Global News he has been hit twice by vehicles and he was not happy by the news of his friend’s death.

“Grief-stricken and rather angry at the same time because we’ve been dealing with this traffic issue for a long time.”

He says there are lots of elderly folks around the area who have mobility issues and struggle to cross safely.

“There’s a lot of people here that are crippled. They don’t get around very well,” he says. “There’s always traffic jams here. It’s so (many) vehicles here, and there’s a lot of people living around here, children and old people as well that don’t get across that street as quickly as other young folks would, right? So, it has to be looked into.”

Read more: Deteriorating road conditions lead to crashes, closures of Manitoba highways

Dubois wasn’t the only person to call out the traffic issues in the area. Aitkenhead’s longtime friend Gail Hill also spoke about the issue.

“We’ve had quite a few tenants hit at Morelli and Osborne as well, crossing up at the lights.” she says.

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Hill says many people living in this seniors residence choose to cross Osborne in front of their building, instead of going to a crosswalk.

“A lot of them can’t walk. You know, it’s harder for them to walk to the corner and cross.”

However, residents have to be careful wherever they are crossing, “It can happen at the intersection. It has happened at the intersection.” says Dubois

“You’ve got to be super careful walking, even if you’re crossing on the crosswalks or jaywalking, whatever. The cars won’t stop” he added.

Hill says Aitkenhead had some pretty serious health issues and was walking around with a walker.

Read more: Winnipeg cops looking for witnesses to fatal downtown crash

He was known around the neighbourhood as “Gentleman Jim”… a nickname he earned for his kindness, according to Hill.

“Oh, my goodness. He was just kind to everybody. He’d just help … He’d give you the shirt off his back.”

The driver of the vehicle was a woman in her 80s, who stayed at the scene to talk with the police.

Winnipeg police are hoping to hear from witnesses to better understand what happened.

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“Typically with these types of investigations, we try to find third-party independent witnesses, we look for video surveillance,” said Constable Jay Murray.

Anyone with information regarding the matter or that may have witnessed the collision is asked to contact investigators at 204-986-7085.

With files from Global’s Rosanna Hempel

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