A criminal investigation is underway after an on-duty RCMP officer was killed in a crash near Victoria, B.C.
Const. Sarah Beckett, 32, was on general duty in a marked police car when it collided with a pickup truck in Langford at about 3:30 a.m. Tuesday. Paramedics who rushed to the scene were not able to revive her, said the RCMP.
She leaves her husband and two sons under five years old, as well as her mother, sister and extended family.
"Her family must now start to deal with this absolute tragedy," said Chief Supt. Ray Bernoties, district commander of the RCMP on Vancouver Island. "They ask for privacy as they grieve."
Beckett spent her entire 11-year career with the RCMP on Vancouver Island in general duty, media relations and as an investigator with the Integrated Major Crime Unit there. Her Facebook page indicates that she went to high school in Victoria.
Const. Sarah Beckett began her career with the RCMP in 2005. (Photo: RCMP)
"It became clear very early this morning that Const. Beckett was a very popular member of the RCMP," said Bernoties.
RCMP Asst. Comm. Sharon Woodburn, the acting commanding officer, added: "She was a great police officer, truly dedicated to serving others."
The crash happened early Tuesday at Goldstream Avenue and Peatt Road in Langford, B.C. (Photo: Chad Hipolito/Canadian Press)
"The driver of the other vehicle was taken to hospital for a medical assessment, but his injuries are not considered serious. He is now in police custody," said Bernoties.
Both the RCMP and the Saanich Police Department are investigating the incident.
Bernoties wouldn't say if the driver of the pickup truck was being pursued by police at the time of the accident.
"At this point I can't go into any details of the investigation whatsoever,'' he said.
Investigators examine the scene of the crash on Tuesday. (Photo: Chad Hipolito/Canadian Press)
Witness Jordan Coon told CHEK News he noticed the truck speed by his home and then heard the crash. He said it looked like Beckett may have been trying to cut off the other vehicle.
"At the speed he was going, there was no way he was going to stop, and he hit her directly on the door," he told the station. "His truck was right on top of her. His bumper was right inside her window."
'Their mother was a hero'
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted his condolences on Tuesday afternoon.
On behalf of the government, I offer my condolences to the family of RCMP Const. Sarah Beckett, who was killed today in the line of duty.— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) April 5, 2016
B.C. Premier Christy Clark issued a statement offering her condolences to Beckett's family.
"Nothing anyone can say will ease their pain during such a dark time. In the years to come, I hope they will take comfort in the knowledge that their mother was a hero,'' she said.
"Each and every day, police officers put themselves in harm's way to keep the rest of us safe. We should all take the opportunity to thank them more often.''
A page has been set up on the RCMP's website for people to post their condolences online.
Clarification: A previous version of this story said that Sarah Beckett had "just" returned to work from maternity leave. In fact, she had been back on the job for a year, clarified the RCMP.
With files from The Canadian Press
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