N.S. officer not responsible for man’s death on highway, police watchdog rules

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Global News Morning Halifax: November 2
The online edition of Global News Morning with Paul Brothers and Alyse Hand on Global Halifax – Nov 2, 2022

Nova Scotia’s police watchdog has concluded that an RCMP officer was not responsible for a fatal crash in Antigonish County in April.

The Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT) was called in to investigate, after it was initially believed an RCMP officer patrolling for a pedestrian who had been reported running into the highway, may have inadvertently hit and killed the young man.

However, SiRT said their investigation has concluded that the man had already been fatally struck by an 18-wheel truck “a minute or so earlier.”

“This was indeed a tragic event which impacted many people’s lives, but there is nothing criminal in any way with what happened on the night in question,” concluded the report released Wednesday.

SiRT’s report said police were initially called on the night of April 27 after a truck driver reported that he saw a young man running on to Highway 104 at around 10:30 p.m.

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The man’s family members were already looking for him. According to SiRT, the 22-year-old man had mental health concerns and his mother had noticed him missing.

That same evening, another truck driver was on his way to River John, N.S., when he thought he hit a deer.

“The weather was overcast, a misty rain falling, and this area has no artificial lighting,” the report noted.

The driver kept driving and stopped an hour later to check his truck for damage, and to call his boss about the incident.

In the meantime, one of the RCMP officers who responded reported hitting something low to the ground on the highway and found the victim “lying on the highway deceased.” The report said the victim had run out in front of the truck.

The next morning, the second truck driver “had a conversation with a couple of friends where he learned about a fatal collision in the area where he had driven past last evening” and realized he may have been involved.

SiRT said the driver, his wife and the owner of the truck went to the RCMP detachment in Stellarton to report what had happened and were fully cooperative.

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DNA evidence collected from the truck confirmed it was the victim he had struck.

The report concluded that there were no grounds for charges against the RCMP officer.

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help. For a directory of support services in your area, visit the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention.

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