By Dan Kinvig – Abbotsford News
Published: July 23, 2011 10:00 AM
UPDATE: The driver involved in a hit-and-run crash that killed star athlete Desmond Bassi, 17, early Saturday morning turned himself in to Abbotsford Police later that afternoon.
The driver is also 17 and now faces criminal charges. His name cannot be released because he is a youth.
Less than an hour before the teen turned himself in, another 17-year-old showed up at the police department and said he had been a passenger in the suspect vehicle, which has now been located and seized.
The Abbotsford News has learned that a 17-year-old pedestrian struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver early Saturday morning is Desmond Bassi, a star athlete from W.J. Mouat Secondary.
Abbotsford Police are now trying to track down the driver and are asking for any witnesses to come forward.
Const. Ian MacDonald said the teen left a party that had taken place on a side street off Clearbrook Road with a small group of friends.
The group walked along Clearbrook Road and then west on Blueridge Drive towards Mt. Lehman Road. At some point, Bassi got far enough ahead of the group that they did not witness the collision.
Two drivers travelling east on Blueridge, just west of Townline Road, found Bassi lying in the road, pulled over and called 911.
When police arrived, they found the teen severely injured. Two officers took turns performing CPR, but the boy died in hospital about an hour later.
Bassi was a star receiver for the Mouat football team, earning All-Province honours last season after leading the AAA high school league in receptions with 41. He was also a key member of the Hawks basketball team that won the Fraser Valley title and finished fourth at provincials in March.
Bassi was set to attend Simon Fraser University this fall on a football scholarship, and Mouat head coach Denis Kelly said he had put in a tremendous amount of work getting his grades up during his Grade 12 year in order to qualify academically.
“There were nothing but positive things happening for him, and then this,” Kelly said. “He was a kid with all kinds of athletic talent, and really highly regarded by the teachers.
“What a promising future he had. You’ve just got to feel sick for the family and for the grad class.”
Via Facebook, several of Bassi’s classmates have organized a candlelight vigil at Mouat Secondary from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday evening.
Luke Friesen, a teammate of Bassi’s in both football and basketball, remembered his friend as someone with a great sense of humour.
“Desmond was the kind of guy who could really make you laugh in any sort of situation,” Friesen said. “He’d walk into a room, and everyone would smile. He was just that type of guy.
“He had a great work ethic – he had to try so hard to pass his classes to get to SFU, where he really wanted to go to play football.”
MacDonald said a small amount of debris left at the scene indicated a vehicle had hit Bassi. He said police will eventually be able to determine the make, model and year of the vehicle, but that will take some time. They are hoping that either the driver or witnesses come forward sooner.
The Abbotsford Police Department’s major crime unit, collision reconstructionists, patrol division and forensic ID unit are all investigating.
Anyone with information is asked to call the APD at 604-859-5225 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477