MEMRAMCOOK, N.B. — A Nova Scotia Mountie who apparently stopped to assist motorists with a flat tire has been killed in a collision in southeastern New Brunswick.
A utility van collided with his police car and an SUV shortly after 6 p.m. Tuesday in the east bound lane of the Trans Canada Highway near Memramcook, police said.
RCMP Cpl. Jullie Rogers-Marsh said the preliminary investigation has determined the officer stopped to assist two people in the SUV change a tire.
The officer, a 35-year-old former member of the force's famed Musical Ride who got married this summer, died at the scene.
RCMP cruiser damaged
"The two people with the SUV were taken to hospital and the driver of the van was also taken to hospital where he was treated, released and has been taken into police custody," Rogers-Marsh said.
Rogers-Marsh couldn't say why the Nova Scotia officer was in New Brunswick at the time, but did confirm that he was on-duty and in uniform. As of midday Wednesday, his name had not been released. However, a spokeswoman for the RCMP in Nova Scotia said a statement would be given at its Amherst detachment on the death of a member.
Cpl. Darren Galley of the Codiac detachment in New Brunswick said he worked alongside the officer in Amherst, but did not want to identify him by name.
Galley said they worked together in traffic services, and the officer had been involved in initiatives to inform the public about legislation in both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick that requires drivers to slow down and move over when emergency vehicles are stopped along the highway.
"I think traffic was his passion,'' he said from Moncton. "He came to work everyday and did a 100 per cent job ... He was always friendly, always a happy, go-lucky guy and he's going to be sadly missed.''
Galley said the officer had transferred from Bible Hill, N.S., to Ottawa at one point to become part of the Musical Ride before transferring back to Nova Scotia at the Amherst detachment.
Photographer John Morris was driving to Moncton when he came upon the accident.
Just looking at it you got a bad feeling about itPhotographer John Morris
"As I got closer I noticed there were cars in places where they shouldn't have been on the side of the road. I noticed a lots of flashing lights and a police car that looked severely damaged," he said.
Morris' photos show damage to both the front and rear of the RCMP cruiser.
"Just looking at it you got a bad feeling about it," he said.
Morris said he knows many RCMP officers, and it was difficult to view the wreckage.
"They put their lives at risk a lot. They have a tough and difficult job and don't receive a lot of credit for what they do," he said.
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Rogers-Marsh said it has been a difficult time for members of the force.
"When our members deal with fatal accidents it's never easy to deal with that. It's certainly very difficult when it's one of your own co-workers or somebody that you might know. Our thoughts go out to the member's family, friends and his co-workers," she said.
Tire had been changed
She said investigators would have to determine if everyone was in their vehicles at the time of the crash or standing by the vehicles.
Photos appear to show the tire had been changed. A tire with a plain black rim can be seen on the rear passenger side of the SUV.
The eastbound lanes of the highway were closed for several hours while emergency crews attended the scene. The highway was re-opened Wednesday morning.
— With files from Alison Auld in Halifax