A Merritt city councillor has died after being struck by a vehicle on the side of Highway 16 near Valemount.
Claire Newman, who was first elected to council in October of 2022, was parked and out of her Nissan Frontier when she was hit. RCMP responded to an automated cell phone crash notification just before midnight on July 4, where they found the truck running, unlocked and with a dog inside.
Newman was found nearby down an embankment, with no signs of life. No other vehicle was in the area.
Police found part of a headlight from a grey 2016-2018 Jeep Cherokee in the area. They are asking the driver of this vehicle to come forward.
Anyone in the area near Lucerne Lake between 11p.m.-12a.m. on July 4-5 who may have more information are asked to contact the Valemount RCMP at (250) 566-4466.
City hall in Merritt lowered their flag to half mast on July 5 in honour of Newman.
“To lose a light like Claire Newman in such a tragic way has left a giant hole in my heart and the heart of everyone who came into contact with her,” said Mayor Michael Goetz. “Claire was the cheerleader of this Council and a driving force that you rarely come across. Getting to know Claire over the past six months has been a great pleasure and I am a better person for having known her. To her family and friends, I offer my deepest sympathies. Claire you will be missed.”
Merritt city council has cancelled its regular July 11 meeting.