The Niagara Regional Police have arrested Patrick McCabe, 21, of Pelham, in the hit-and-run death of a Mexican national in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
According to a police statement released Wednesday, McCabe turned himself in, and the vehicle believed to be involved in the collision has been recovered.
The 33-year-old victim, Zenaida, a farm worker from Mexico, was hit by a truck while walking along Concession 7 near Line 6. The single mother of two daughters, aged 7 and 11, succumbed to her critical injuries Monday at the Hamilton General Hospital.
Those closest to the situation, Jane Andres, Wilfred Bout, and others organizing a vigil for her, have said they don’t want her last name published.
A vigil is being held for her Sunday night at 7 p.m., in front of St. Davids Hydroponics on Concession 7.
It will be near where Zenaida was struck by a pickup truck, but far enough away to be safe for those who attend, said Andres.
Zenaida was working for the second year for Tregunno Farms on the Niagara River Parkway. Phil Tregunno said he wasn’t sure whether she would have been returning to Mexico when the packing is finished, or transferring to another farm. “This is terrible,” he said, “so tragic.” The narrow rural roads and concessions present a danger, especially in the dark, he added.
“It all happened so fast. We’re still trying to process it.”
He said the women who spend time together in the packing barn become close through their work. “They’re a very good group, and a religious group. They go to church services Sunday night. They will have the comfort of their strong beliefs — that will be helpful.”
Wilfred Bout, a local mission worker from a Jordan church which holds regular services for migrant farmworkers, said he spent some time with Zenaida in the hospital, and Monday evening, he visited the women at the farm where she worked.
He said Zenaida was walking home from a church picnic when she was hit.
At first, Bout was fearful of having her name published, thinking it might cause harm to the family back home, but said after talking it over with her employer, he decided it would be okay to use her first name.
Her girls will be raised by their grandparents, he said, and he knows there will be a desire to help her family. He would like to collect donations for the girls’ upbringing and education, and has set up a GoFundMe page to collect donations at https://www.gofundme.com/f/niagaraonthelake-migrant-worker/.
The page was posted Tuesday afternoon, and a little more than 24 hours later, almost $19,000 had been raised toward a $30,000 goal.
“The community response really has been very overwhelming,” said Bout. “I am so thankful for the solidarity that our Canadians are showing with the the Mexicans and other friends in our farms and greenhouses and vineyards are feeling at this moment.”
“As you can imagine, there is a great need for funds to help the family in Mexico,” he said, adding there is also the cost of returning her home to Mexico.
As well as ongoing costs for the grandparents who are now raising the two young daughters, there will be long-term education costs, said Bout, who helps farm workers in Niagara under the oversight of Jordan Heritage Reformed Church, Immanuel United Reformed Church of Jordan, and Vineland Free Reformed Church.
McCabe has been charged with fail to stop, and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death. He is being held in custody pending a bail hearing.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Niagara Regional Police traffic reconstruction unit at 905-688-4111, ext. 5600.