In an instant, a deadly car crash can turn a family upside down.
But for the grieving relatives who want a quick answer about the cause, or a driver brought to justice for any wrongdoing, the conclusion can seem like an endless wait.
According to Coquitlam Mounties, a complete investigation into a deadly car crash can take months and, in some cases, up to two years, depending on the circumstances.
"It's quite an elaborate process," said RCMP Cpl. Jamie Chung.
Essentially, he pointed out a collision investigation has several components that take time to complete.
Following a crash, the RCMP's Integrated Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Service or ICARS team is called in to lead the investigation.
The team will mark everything down at the scene and carry out the technical part of the scene reconstruction and analysis.
Chung noted ICARS works backward to piece the incident together.
"If there is enough physical evidence at the scene they'll be able to create a picture," he said.
Meanwhile, the local detachment's own traffic section would be interviewing witnesses and drivers to see if the stories match up.
Depending on the situation, the vehicles involved could also be sent for a mechanical inspection.
A technical report the size of a novel is then created for the entire file, which is subject to an internal review and review by a senior officer.
From there, the report is handed over to Crown prosecutors, who then determine what, if any, charges will be laid.
Chung noted the charges could vary from criminal negligence causing death to driving without due care.
"It all depends on the totality of everything we've collected," he said.
Some hit-and-run investigations can take up to two years to be completed.
The need for a search warrant can add even more months to an investigation.
There have been three fatal crashes involving pedestrians in the last four months in the Tri-Cities.
Andrew Kamara, 58, was struck and killed on the morning of Oct. 17 while he was out for a jog along East Road in Anmore.
The father and Sierra Leone native was engaged to be married at the time of his death.
On Jan. 17, Roland Webb was killed after being hit by a dump truck as he crossed East Road near Hummingbird Drive in Anmore.
The 37-year-old father of two was a supervisor at BC Ambulance and a member of Coquitlam Search and Rescue.
Hundreds of people turned out for his funeral a week later.
Most recently on Feb. 2, Carmelle Peart was struck and killed by a car as she walked along Austin Avenue in front of the Safeway.
The 82-year-old Burnaby resident was a member of the All Saints Parish church in Coquitlam.
No charges have been laid in any of the incidents, but following her death, Peart's family told The NOW they were hoping the driver would face a criminal penalty.
Police note the investigations into all three fatalities are still ongoing, but few details are being made public.
In the case of the two most recent crashes, Chung noted the vehicles involved were subjected to an inspection as part of the investigation.