Abbotsford Police are seeking help from the public in identifying the driver of a vehicle that they seized last week in connection to a fatal hit-and-run in January.
Const. Ian MacDonald said the vehicle – a grey 2013 Ford Expedition – was discovered last Wednesday (June 10) on a property in the 28600 block of Huntingdon Road.
He said police have identified a “person of interest” connected to the Expedition but have not yet been able to arrest anyone or determine whether that person was driving the vehicle at the time of the collision.
MacDonald would also not say whether that person is the registered owner of the SUV.
The vehicle was found with significant damage to its front end and was taken by police, in whose possession it remains while the investigation continues.
MacDonald wouldn’t say what led investigators to the SUV and to that property but said it is “definitely” the one involved in the collision that killed 61-year-old Ronald James Scott (in photo at left) just after 11 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 29 in the 2000 block of Mt. Lehman Road.
Scott had been riding his bicycle southbound at the time and was struck by a vehicle going in the same direction. The driver fled the scene.
Two weeks after the crash, police indicated that debris found at the scene had been determined to belong to a Ford F150 pickup from the years 2012 to 2014.
MacDonald said police deployed resources over the following months to the area near the collision in an attempt to locate the vehicle and driver involved.
He said a person connected to the Expedition has declined to provide a statement to police.
Without sufficient evidence to confirm the person’s role in the hit-and-run, police are unable to arrest him, even to provide a statement.
“In Canada, you can’t force someone to come forward (to police),” he said.
Sources have confirmed the “person of interest” is Kerry James Froese, 37, owner of the property where the vehicle was found by police.
In 2011, Froese pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention in the 2008 death of Trevor Dueck, 18, and was given a six-month driving prohibition.
The News reported at the time that Dueck had been riding his dirt bike south on the grassy shoulder of the 1000 block of Gladwin Road, when he slammed into the passenger side of Froese’s 2006 Ford F350.
Froese had been turning into a driveway at the time.
Froese is a chicken farmer who, in January of this year, was named the recipient of the BC and Yukon Outstanding Young Farmer Award.
He has run a farm for over two decades on a 20-acre property and has appeared on an episode of Chicken Squad, a marketing series to promote chicken farming in B.C.
Froese is also a member of the board of directors for the B.C. Chicken Marketing Board and the Chicken Farmers of Canada.
The Abbotsford Police Department (APD) hopes that by releasing the photo of the vehicle involved in the January 2015 hit-and-run, others might come forward.
“It is likely that someone may have observed the vehicle prior to the tragic collision. It is also possible that someone might have observed the vehicle after the crash or has some information about it,” MacDonald said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the APD at 604-859-5225, text abbypd (222973) or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.