Man allegedly involved in fatal February hit-and-run originally fled country: police
KITCHENER -- Waterloo regional police say a man who was involved in a fatal hit-and-run in February surrendered himself to officers on Tuesday after he allegedly fled the country after the crash.
The 33-year-old Waterloo man has been charged with failing to remain at an accident causing death and obstructing police.
Officers were called to the scene at Highland Road West near Ira Needles Boulevard on the morning of Feb. 3. Officials say Wojciech Plaga was found dead at the scene. Police believed he was hit by a vehicle while walking on Highland Road West near Westheights Drive sometime over night.
Police did not identify the accused, but court documents identity him as Igor Ninkovic. He appeared in court on Tuesday and is scheduled to appear in court again on Oct. 9.
Police Chief Bryan Larkin said during the Police Services Board meeting on Wednesday that the accused had fled to eastern Europe earlier this year.
"We learned that the accused had actually fled the country overseas and so our service did work internationally with other law enforcement partners to actually locate the individual," Larkin said. "Clearly, the global pandemic prevented other opportunities for the police service including extradition, but the individual accused did return to Canada and we were able to make the arrest and lay charges."
Shortly after the incident, police said they'd seized a suspect vehicle from a residence in Waterloo.
Three others, a 65-year-old man and two women, aged 66 and 36, were charged with accessory after the fact in May. The man and 36-year-old woman were also charged with obstructing justice.
The court documents have identified them as Milijana Ninkovic, 66, Anja Ninkovic, 36, and Mladen Ninkovic, 66. The charge alleges that between Feb. 2 and 12, all three accused comforted and assisted the suspect driver for the purpose of helping him escape. Anja and Mladen also face charges for obstructing police and concealing evidence, the documents showed.
None of the charges against the four accused have been tested in court.
Shortly after Plaga's death, the Region of Waterloo announced it would start work to widen and add trails to Highland Road West. When the announcement was made in February, regional Coun. Tom Galloway described the area as a "rural road in the city" with pedestrians using either side. He added the roadway is much riskier for pedestrians when conditions worsen in the winter months.
Officials have said that the improvements are expected to take between two to three years to complete.
With reporting from CTV News Kitchener's Natalie van Rooy