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Fort Sask. woman tragically killed in police incident well-known community pillar

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The woman who was killed in a police pursuit that resulted in a crash on Saturday has been identified as Kassandra Gartner of Fort Saskatchewan.

Mounties were attempting to stop a U-Haul truck that had reportedly rammed a police cruiser on Saturday evening when they laid a tire deflation device in the area of 50 Street and Highway 814 in Beaumont.

Gartner, 45, who was not involved in the police pursuit, got out of her SUV after hitting the tire deflation device, and was struck and killed by the U-Haul, Mounties say.

Her family released a statement about her death on Monday.

"With profound sadness, we announce the passing of Kassandra Gartner, a beloved wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend and a pillar in our community who tragically lost her life in an incident on Saturday night," the statement reads.

"We will forever cherish the memories. Kassandra leaves behind. Her presence will be greatly missed, but her spirit will continue to inspire us all."

Fort Saskatchewan Mayor Gale Katchur also remembered Gartner for her work as executive director of the Fort Saskatchewan Food Bank.

"When we heard the news that Kassandra was the victim in Saturday night's collision, it was a shock to myself and to all of our community. She is well known in the community and a pillar within our community," Katchur told CTV News Edmonton.

"She was a very dynamic person who saw that there was a need for the food bank to expand to grow and to be able to meet the needs of the community."

Katchur said Gartner started as a volunteer at the food bank, before being elected to the board and rising to the position of executive director.

Amanda Bell, president of the food bank, said in a statement Gartner "was the heart and soul of our mission and the driving force for service to our community."

"Her unwavering dedication and compassion have left a mark not only on our clients and volunteers but on the entire community," Bell said, adding that the food bank "is committed to continuing the vital work she so passionately led."

"As she would expect, our doors will remain open, and our services will continue, as a tribute to Kass's extraordinary life and the lasting impact she has made on our community."

Gartner leaves behind a husband and three young daughters.

"This is such a tragic loss for Kassandra's family and for our community, so we have our deepest sympathy for her family and friends," Katchur said.

"There's just no words to share that can show how much our hearts are breaking."

Katchur said a vigil is planned for Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at city hall in Fort Saskatchewan.

Search for a killer

The driver of the U-Haul didn't stop after hitting Gartner on Saturday night.

Police say he kept going and hit another vehicle. The man in that vehicle was taken to hospital in serious, but non-life threatening condition.

The crashed U-Haul was found shortly after at a gas station near 50 Street and 22 Avenue in Edmonton.

A U-Haul truck and a black car were involved in a crash near 50 Street and 22 Avenue the night of Feb. 24, 2024. (Sean McClune/CTV News Edmonton)

The driver got out and stole a 2020 Honda Civic parked nearby with a child inside.

The child was dropped off unharmed near 66 Street and 25 Avenue.

The Edmonton Police Service said Monday the Civic had been found abandoned outside the city.

Police are still searching for the driver, who is described as approximately 5'11", wearing a black hoodie with white text on the front, brown shorts and black shoes.

This man is wanted by EPS and RCMP in connection with a fatal crash and carjacking in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2024. (Supplied)

Anyone with information about the man is asked to contact the Beaumont RCMP at 780-929-7400 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

A woman was also in the U-Haul at the time of the incident.

Police say she was located at the gas station but will not confirm if she is in custody or if charges are pending.

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) is investigating the use of the tire deflation device that resulted in Gartner's death

ASIRT's mandate is to investigate any cases involving Alberta police that result in serious injury or death.  

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