Pedestrian killed in highway crash identified as woman from Big Horn
Cindy Abraham. (Supplied)
EDMONTON -- A family has learned little more about the circumstances in which their mother and sister was struck and killed on an Alberta highway in February.
The victim of the fatal crash west of Rocky Mountain House on Feb. 27 was identified by family as 42-year-old Cindy Abraham, a woman originally from the Big Horn Reserve in Treaty 6 territory.
There was no media advisory from police that Saturday evening, as is sometimes customary for RCMP to issue when a roadway is shut down for a serious incident or to make way for a collision investigation.
And few details were released by Mounties in a statement three days later. The news release said Abraham had been hit in the driving lane by a pick-up truck headed east toward Rocky Mountain House. No charges were laid.
In the days between the crash and CTV News Edmonton's first report of it, Abraham's sister tried to learn more about how her sister died – failing to glean other details from RCMP as she wasn't Cindy's next of kin.
"I kept asking them, 'Well, can you at least confirm with me that it is my sister?' And they're like, 'Yep, that I can tell you. But I can't tell you any more,'" Samantha Abraham recalled.
What Mounties did not tell media or the Abraham family was that the pick-up involved belonged to and was being driven by a member of the Clearwater Regional Fire Rescue Service – a fact confirmed by the county in a statement posted online March 4, the same day CTV News Edmonton asked for an interview.
When asked, RCMP Corp. Laurel Scott wouldn't confirm whether the truck had belonged to Clearwater County or if it had been responding to an emergency, telling CTV News Edmonton police don't typically report on who owns a vehicle at the centre of an investigation.
"If it was a Costco truck, I wouldn't tell you it was a Costco truck," she commented.
The same day, Clearwater County issued its statement, which read in part it had been "saddened to learn of an employee in a municipal vehicle being involved in a motor vehicle collision with a pedestrian." In an interview several days later, administrative officer Rick Emmons would tell CTV News Edmonton the fire truck had not been responding to an emergency, but had been on call, and as such, was being used at the time within county policy.
It took the county nearly a week to post the statement, Emmons said, because, "Truly, we were in process."
"Immediately after, there was many things to deal with, not only the pedestrian involved, but also our employee… You can imagine the emotional impact there."
Sam Abraham said that was reasonable, commenting, "Even hitting a deer is traumatic."
But she says it has been difficult not knowing more about her sister's death. It's not known how Cindy ended up alone, three kilometres west of Rocky Mountain House, where she was killed. Both she and Cindy's ex and father of two of her children, Keith Goodrunning, said Cindy wasn't known to hitchhike, but noted the 42-year-old had for several years "lived the lifestyle that nobody wants their family to live." Abraham had been using drugs and was couch surfing the months before her death. It's why Sam and Cindy hadn't spoken for several years until earlier in February; a Facebook memory with a picture of the sisters popped up in Sam's feed, compelling her to reach out again.
Sam, left, and Cindy, middle. (Supplied)
"We want to know if it's an accident, or intentional. Like did Cindy get in front? Or was the driver blindsided by the sunset?" Abraham said of the crash. "At that time – like seven, seven thirty when the sun goes down – sometimes it blocks our vision."
Abraham took the most recent photos of her sister from Cindy's Facebook. They're selfies Cindy took in Rocky Mountain House in 2020. She is impassively staring straight into the camera lens.
But the Cindy Sam remembers is the positive, talkative sister, standing in the kitchen in a pink-and-grey striped shirt on Thanksgiving nearly 10 years ago.
"She would always invite me and the family over on weekends to go visit her in Red Deer," Abraham recalled.
Emmons said no questions have been brought to the county about the crash, and encouraged those who wanted to learn more to contact Mounties.