By Gerald V. Paul
By yesterday afternoon, there were 2,069 likes on a Facebook page after 14-year-old Amaria Diljohn (MoMo) was struck and killed on Friday, Dec. 19, by a TTC bus while trying to cross an intersection.
Toronto police say Diljohn, known by the nickname MoMo, was attempting to cross Neilson Road around 5:40 p.m. when a northbound bus turned right onto Finch Avenue and struck her. She was pronounced dead at the scene in north east Scarborough.
Roy Brown posted on Facebook, “Our prayers are with you. May the God of all comfort comfort you at this challenging time. Love from Grant Church.”
And Shauna Mendelson wrote, “I am so sorry for your loss … it is truly horrible and I cannot imagine. I have a little girl and cannot even begin to imagine how you feel. My heart aches for you. May Amaria rest in peace.”
At the same intersection at a Sunday night vigil, some 200 people gathered for a candle light vigil. Through the sorrow and tears the crowd sang Amazing Grace and Jesus Loves the Little Children.
“I know that the right things will be done,” said Diljohn’s father Maurice Fraser, as he thanked the community for its support.
Ward 42 Coun. Raymond Cho called Diljohn’s death “unfair.”
“We don’t have enough vocabulary to express our sadness,” he said as he passed along Mayor John Tory’s condolences.
The 27-year-old bus driver, who police have interviewed, did not remain at the scene. It is not known if he was aware that he had struck the girl when he drove away.
Reports say that Marlene Alcantera, a distant relative of Diljohn, said she was a passenger and had just stepped off the bus at a bus stop.
The driver is “a young man … and it’s a big bus and it’s a little child and the possibility exists that he couldn’t have seen her, because she had the right of way to cross, so she crossed, and the bus was still there and he made his right (turn),” Alcantera said.
Police want to speak with six passengers who rode the 133 Neilson bus on Friday between 5:15 and 6 p.m. The six were seen in security camera footage from the bus and are believed to be regulars on the route.
“The thoughts and prayers of everyone at the TTC go out to the girl’s family during this very difficult time,” a TTC statement read.