Mounties from across Canada are mourning the loss of a fellow officer who was killed after being struck by a car near Memramcook, N.B., Tuesday.
Const. Frank Deschenes was nearing the end of his shift, returning to Amherst, N.S., from New Brunswick, when he stopped to help two people in an SUV change a tire. His vehicle was struck from behind by a utility van.
He died at the scene.
“Earlier today I met with Const. Deschenes' wife and family members. They are dealing with an unimaginable tragedy and I ask that they be given the privacy and respect they deserve,” says A/Cmdr. Brian Brennan of Nova Scotia RCMP.
The two occupants of the SUV and the driver of the utility van were all taken to hospital. The driver of the van was treated then taken into police custody. There’s no word on whether charges will be laid.
In 2013, Deschenes was part of the team assembled to spread the word about Nova Scotia's move-over law, which requires motorists to slow down and if possible change lanes when approaching emergency vehicles that are stopped on the side of the road with their lights flashing.
A/Cmdr. Brian Brennan couldn't say if that was a factor in the incident.
“I think it's just an extra little bit of consideration for the safety of not only the police officer, but for the safety of the person he has stopped or is helping. Slow down, move over and then continue on your way safely,” says Brennan.
L.P. Theriault, president of the Mounted Police Professional Association, says Deschenes’ death will be difficult for many people to accept.
“It's tough on everyone and members are going to have to rely on each other for support,” says Theriault. “It's going to be tough on his coworkers, it's going to be tough on his family. But it's also going to be tough on the members who responded to that collision.”
Deschenes has also been hailed as a hero. In 2008 he used his patrol car to push another vehicle off the train tracks as a CN freight train approached. He cleared the path with only minutes to spare, averting a potential derailment and injuries.
“That's just one demonstration of his dedication and commitment,” Brennan says. “From my conversations with family and friends, he was extremely dedicated to the RCMP. He loved what he did.”
The investigation into the cause of the crash will be conducted by New Brunswick RCMP.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Jonathan MacInnis.