Emergency vehicles block the highway on the scene of a fatal hit-and-run Tuesday morning.

Merville hit and run suspect arrested leaving the Island

A 29-year-old driver was arrested for Criminal Negligence Causing Death and Failing to Remain at the Scene of an accident following an early morning hit-and-run Tuesday on Highway 19A, just north of the Merville Store.

At approximately 5:30 a.m., Comox Valley RCMP responded to the collision, where the pedestrian was found deceased on scene, Comox Valley RCMP Const. Rob Gardner said.

Police were searching for a vehicle with heavy front-end damage.

The victim has been identified through friends and family as Marcus Haslehurst, 18, who grew up in Campbell River and was living in Merville.

There is a memorial Facebook page (RIP Marcus Haslehurst) set up in his honour for people to express their condolences.

He is described by his mother Michelle Haslehurst as a well-liked individual who would drop everything to help a friend.

“Most people liked Marcus,” Wilkinson told CTV News’ Gord Kurbis. “Marcus had a big, warm heart and he was an easy-going guy.”

Haslehurst was reportedly walking home along the Old Island Highway with a friend when the collision occurred. Haslehurst was thrown into the ditch and the vehicle left the scene.

Const. Gardner said a ferry passenger, who had heard about the incident through social media, called RCMP to report a vehicle matching the description, heading to the Lower Mainland.

The vehicle was located and a traffic stop was initiated by police, after departing the ferry.

Burnaby RCMP confirmed the vehicle was stopped Tuesday around noon.

“It occurred in Burnaby but not in our jurisdiction,” said Staff Sgt. Maj. John Buis, of the Burnaby RCMP. “It occurred on the freeway.”

It is believed that people waiting at the Departure Bay Ferry terminal had seen a vehicle with extensive damage to the front and possibly photographed the damages, added Gardner.

Comox Valley RCMP is asking the public if they have any photos, to email them with their information to ComoxValley_GeneralEnquiries@rcmp-grc.gc.ca.

Police are thanking the public for their assistance in the investigation, and encourage anyone who may still have information to contact them at 250-338-1321 and city file number 2016-13815.

The Facebook page set up to pay tribute to Haslehurst contains many touching tributes to the young man. Some are remebering him as a teammate on the football field and others remember him as a friend:

“It’s obvious to me that Marcus was a very talented and unique individual, and loved by many. This picture is from 2008 when he won an award for an outstanding linebacker.”

“So many great memories on the field with this guy. He was my guardian out there taking out all the big guys that picked on me on the field. Gunna miss him deeply.”

“Marcus… you were something else. You had a light inside of you and I am so very sorry and heartbroken that you were taken from us so young with so many more experiences ahead of you…”

“RIP Marcus, I’ll always remember your contagious laugh, you were always such a happy guy. I’m so sorry this has happened to you. I don’t know why awful things happen to such amazing people.”

– With files from CTV

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