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

Record turnout for Five Corners concert in White Rock

Abba/Elton John/Billy Joel salute attracts an estimated 4,500 people

Man facing seven charges after alleged threats at Surrey restaurant

Surrey RCMP say incident at Whalley business was ‘very traumatic’ for customers and employees

Witchazel rocks again with CD of ‘Lost Tapes’ from band’s ’80s glory days

Surrey bar a stage for ‘Cancer Killer Rock Party’ on Aug. 30

Delta police secure 94 charges in dial-a-dope bust

Seven people with ties to the Red Scorpion gang are facing drug and firearm charges

UPDATE: Surrey RCMP say missing 66-year-old man found safe

Verne Raynard was last seen at 12:45 a.m. on Aug. 12 in the 10500-block of 125B Street

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

RCMP to search for body after man drowns in B.C.’s Buntzen Lake

Officers and fire crews responded but the man from the Lower Mainland is believed to have drowned.

Police chiefs call for stricter controls on pill presses to fight opioids

Canada’s police chiefs are urging Ottawa to beef up its fight against the opioid scourge by closely vetting people who import pill presses

Hot, dry conditions forces drought rating to highest level on Vancouver Island

The province says Vancouver Island is under Stage 4 drought conditions

Victoria police say explicit calls continue to target women

Over 50 reports of unwanted, sexually explicit calls have come in

‘It’s like a party in your mouth’

B.C. creator’s Milkshake Burger makes its debut at the PNE

Get involved in the Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count

Environmental organization develops app to help with the nationwide count

Pesticides linked to bee deaths will be phased out in Canada, sources say

Neonicotinoids, or neonics, are a class of pesticides used by farmers and hobby gardeners alike

Most Read

l -->