Toronto family mourns woman killed in suspected impaired driving crash

Published April 19, 2023 5:58 a.m. ET
Updated April 22, 2023 10:41 a.m. ET

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Hazela Baksh’s family should have been gathering this Friday evening to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, instead it’s likely they’ll be congregating for her funeral and burial.

The 64-year-old North York woman died late Tuesday night in a suspected impaired driving collision in north Etobicoke.

Baksh, who lived near Jane and Wilson streets, was driving home around 11 p.m. after finishing Taraweeh prayer at the mosque she attended near Highway 27 and Albion Road when she was involved in a four-vehicle crash.

The collision, which sent two others to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, happened at the intersection of Finch Avenue West and Albion Road.

Baksh died at the scene.

“It’s hard. She was very caring,” her younger sister Hasheda McCade told Wednesday afternoon.

McCade, who lives just a short distance away, said the police came to her door around 4 a.m. Wednesday to give her the news.

“The last thing I ever expected is that my sister would die in a drunk driving crash. … It was shocking,” said McCade who had last seen Hazela just hours before she was killed.

“I never thought that would be the last time I’d see her.”

McCade said she’ll be forever grateful to her sister who took such good care of her and brought her meals when she had breast cancer. She said Hazela was someone who often expressed love and care for others by cooking food for them.

“She will be terribly, terribly missed. (Hazela) was a very, very good human being, a very compassionate, kind and giving person,” her sister said.

Raymond Ally posted a short note about his cousin Hazela’s passing on Facebook early Wednesday morning.

Speaking with a short time later, he said he received a call around 6 a.m. from a relative letting him know that she’d been killed in a collision in Rexdale.

“I can’t believe this has happened. … We had just seen each other at another cousin’s wake a few weeks ago,” he said.

“I didn’t know that would be the last time we’d meet.”

Ally said he has many fond memories of Hazela and that he’ll never forget the “big smile” and “hugs filled with love” that she enjoyed giving.

“(Hazela) was such a beautiful person,” he said, calling his cousin someone who brought their family together, who served as the “peace maker.”

Baksh was the oldest of eight siblings and had a twin sister named Fazela.

And while she didn’t have children of her own, Hazela had a large extended family and was a beloved auntie and cousin, and a dear friend to many.

Originally from Guyana, she came to Canada several years ago and had lived for a time in Edmonton. Hazela still kept in touch with many friends there, her sister and cousin said.

Ally said that as much as the family is pained by this loss, they feel somewhat comforted knowing that Hazela passed away shortly after praying at the mosque and that she was called home during the last 10 days of the holy month of Ramadan.

The funeral and burial for Baksh will take place within the next few days once police release her body. The rituals will be held at Downsview’s Talimul Islam mosque on Rivalda Road likely by week’s end.

Early Tuesday morning, Toronto police told CP24 that they believe alcohol is a factor in the collision and charges are pending against one person.

There are no outstanding suspects.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Toronto police’s Traffic Services unit at 416-808-1900 or  

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