A memorial at Mary Street and Patten Avenue downtown Chilliwack in December 2016 near the location where 78-year-old Fourghozaman Firoozian was killed by a hit-and-run driver. (Progress file)

Charge laid in hit-and-run that killed beloved 78-year-old Chilliwack woman

Linnea Labbee, 70, charged in Dec. 1, 2016 incident that killed Fourghozaman Firoozian

Justice may finally be on the horizon for a beloved 78-year-old woman killed in a hit-and-run downtown Chilliwack over a year ago.

Fourghozaman Firoozian died after she was struck by a pickup truck while walking in a crosswalk on Mary Street on Dec. 1, 2016.

An active Chilliwack volunteer, Firoozian – who was known by friends as Fourugh, pronounced “Farouk” – was mourned by many in the community who were touched by her good works.

Charged with one count of failure to stop at an accident causing bodily harm is Linnea Louise Labbee.

The 70-year-old is next due in court Feb. 27. The stated reason for that appearance according to Court Services Online is an application for a warrant, which will likely be issued if she or legal counsel acting on her behalf do not attend.

Labbee’s only other listed contact with the B.C. criminal justice system is when she was found guilty and fined $1,000 for public mischief in 1998 in Surrey. The charge of public mischief usually relates to misleading a peace officer by making a false statement, blaming someone else for a crime, or falsely reporting an incident.

After Firoozian’s death in 2016, many in the community who she knew spoke highly of the woman. A candlelight vigil was even held and attended by more than 100 people, and a roadside memorial with photographs and flowers was set up at the corner of Mary and Patten Avenue.

• READ MORE: Funeral Wednesday afternoon as Chilliwack mourns a generous lady

The active Firoozian was well known at SPARKS Handups, a group that cooked and served food for homeless people downtown.

“She fit right in. She loved bringing food,” said Sue Knudsen at the vigil in 2016, one of the co-founders of SPARKS.

“Fourogh was out there every Sunday with us, even dishing it out in the heat of summer. That people should ‘eat, eat, eat,’ was all she was ever worried about.”

She will be deeply missed, said Lana Hergott of Chilliwack Community Services, as a good friend to so many.

“She was a kind, generous, sparkling soul who brightened any room she walked into,” said Hergott in 2016.

Those who knew her say the day she was killed the senior was on her way to donate food to Chilliwack Community Services and take part in the lunchtime Conversation Circle group for new immigrants.

“I and all who knew her in our apartment complex were so blessed to have her as our family, tenant and close neighbour, for me only two floors below me,” neighbour Cathy Grozier said. “She will be dearly missed.”

After she was struck that day in 2016, Firoozian was transported to hospital but unfortunately succumbed to her injuries.

A suspect pickup truck was tracked down on Hope River Road the same afternoon as the accident. Police said they had one in custody after the MVA, but it took several months for charges to be laid. It wasn’t until October 2017 that Labbee was finally charged, her first court appearance on Nov. 2.

Police spoke to a number of witnesses after the alleged hit-and-run. At issue for the Crown will be proving Labbee was the driving the pickup when Firoozian was struck.

– with files from Jennifer Feinberg


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Driver reported in critical condition following crash in Aldergrove

White Rock man was not wearing seatbelt when he collided with two other vehicles, Langley RCMP said

Langley rider looks for hometown advantage if she makes World Cup

It won’t be known until Friday if Langley’s L.J. Tidball qualifies for the Longines FEI competition.

VIDEO: Soccer superstar comes to Langley

Teen phenomenon Alphonso Davies of the Vancouver Whitecaps to appear at kids soccer camp

Comeback win by Raiders against Langley Rams

Nanaimo team erases 31-7 deficit to beat Rams 35-34

Fraser Valley Express doubles weekend and holiday bus service

Four new round trips to be added, starting Sept. 4

VIDEO: Lower Mainland air quality to hit ‘extreme risk’

Smoke is pouring in from the interior B.C. and wildfires down in the U.S.

5 to start your day

Langley woman charged in daughter’s murder, Canada beats Mexico and more

B.C. woman promoting ‘orange glow’ campaign to support firefighters

A Penticton woman is hoping an orange ribbon campaign will catch on throughout B.C.

Air Canada-led consortium signs deal to buy Aeroplan program

The deal would acquire the Aeroplan loyalty program from Aimia Inc

Microsoft uncovers more Russian attacks ahead of midterms

Evidence found of Russian hacking attempts targeting U.S. political groups

Animal crackers break free from their cages

PETA pressures Mondelez International to show animals roaming in their natural habitats

U.S. man admits slaying wife, blames her for daughters’ deaths

A 33-year-old Denver man is facing three first-degree murder charges

Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha as pilgrims conduct hajj rites

More than 2 million pilgrims carry out the final rites of the hajj in Saudi Arabia

VIDEO: Mercedes catches fire after crashing in Surrey garage

It happened in the 12700-block of 67A Avenue around 6:30 p.m.

Most Read