Community rallies for woman dragged by van in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside

The community is rallying to raise money for a young woman horribly injured after she was dragged by a van in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside last Saturday.

Desiree Evancio, 24, was struck by a van at Hastings Street and Jackson Avenue at 12:30 a.m. She was caught under the vehicle, which continued to travel along Hastings west for four blocks before it stopped.

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As of Friday, a GoFundMe page had raised more than $117,500 of a $1-million goal. Evancio’s sister, Ashley Danh, said the reason they’re trying to raise $1 million is because it’s likely the driver’s U.S. insurance won’t cover her sister’s recovery costs.

Evancio, who worked at the Shark Club, is in Vancouver General Hospital with life-threatening injuries that include the loss of her right eye, a crushed jaw and multiple broken bones in her body, according to Danh.

Desiree Evancio is believed to have been walking near East Hastings and Jackson Avenue on Oct. 12, 2019, when she was struck by a van pulling a trailer and became trapped under the vehicle. Submitted / GoFundMe

Vancouver police continue to investigate as new details have emerged from CTV that the van belonged to the American punk-rock band Off With Their Heads, which had been playing at a nearby restaurant.

A note on the band’s Facebook page says they have cancelled their tour after one of their members was involved in an accident on Oct. 12 in Vancouver. The band’s frontman, Ryan Young, says they’re waiting for more information to come to light, but until then they don’t feel comfortable carrying on playing live shows.

“Due to the sensitive nature of an accident a band member was involved with, I can’t elaborate any more than that,” he said.

Vancouver police spokesman Const. Steve Addison told Postmedia News that investigators believed the driver may have been impaired by alcohol and were investigating what role that impairment played in the collision.

Addison said the driver and the vehicle were both from the U.S. and that the driver hadn’t been charged with a criminal offence.

“I do not know if the driver has returned to the U.S.,” he said.

Danh wrote: “It is currently undetermined what lies ahead for her, what her recovery will be and whether she will have lifelong ailments because of this.”

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