Friends, family mourn Eleanor Reinecke 

Australian worker killed walking along highway at night

She was only in Whistler for a short time, but in the few months Eleanor Reinecke called the resort home she became a local.

She made friends effortlessly and easily, and grew close to her co-workers.

Reinecke was killed in the early morning hours of Thursday, Jan. 6 after a taxi on Highway 99 struck her. The accident took place just after 3 a.m., north of Lorimer Road. She was walking with her back to traffic.

The 24-year-old arrived in Whistler in November and worked a couple of jobs including in a local restaurant.

The RCMP is still in the process of tracking her movements that evening, but it's believed that she attended a late Jan. 5 New Year's Eve party for restaurant staff that worked on the night of Dec. 31.

A quiet memorial service was held Tuesday morning. Her parents attended, as well as her boyfriend and travelling companion of eight years and several of his co-workers from Whistler Blackcomb.

The family returned to Australia on Wednesday with Eleanor's remains.

The RCMP continues to investigate the accident, which closed that section of highway for nine hours. Investigators have spoken to several witnesses and have obtained the onboard computer data from the taxi. They are also waiting for a toxicology report on the victim.

It appears that weather may have been factor in the accident, with heavy snow that day turning to rain in the evening, creating slush and puddles on the highway. Reinecke was walking on the travelled portion of the road and was to the left of the white fog line when the accident occurred.

Police reported on Tuesday that the taxi, on its way to pick up a fare, did try to avoid the pedestrian. It first swerved towards the snowbank to avoid Reinecke, then swerved left when the driver realized that there wasn't enough room to pass. But there was an oncoming vehicle in the southbound lane, and so the driver steered right again, striking Reinecke.

The police know what speed the driver was travelling before the accident, but are withholding that information until the investigation is complete. The driver has not been charged with any offence.

There are still questions about where Reinecke was over the course of the evening, and where she was headed at the time of the accident. There is also a Valley Trail route running parallel to the highway in that area.

The RCMP want to hear from anyone who may have seen a woman dressed in black walking along the highway at any point that evening. Call 604-932-3044 if you have any information.

For more on this story pick up a copy of The Pique Thursday morning.

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