N.S. police watchdog clears RCMP officer in pedestrian's highway death

Nova Scotia's Serious Incident Response Team has found an RCMP officer not responsible for the death of a 22-year-old Antigonish man who was struck and killed along Highway 104 in April. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC - image credit)
Nova Scotia's Serious Incident Response Team has found an RCMP officer not responsible for the death of a 22-year-old Antigonish man who was struck and killed along Highway 104 in April. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC - image credit)

Nova Scotia's police watchdog says there was no wrongdoing on the part of an RCMP officer who struck an Antigonish man with his vehicle on a dark highway because the pedestrian had been killed moments before by a tractor-trailer.

The Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT) released its report Wednesday into the April 27, 2022, incident on Highway 104 near James River.

An autopsy determined the 22-year-old man was dead before the RCMP officer hit him with their police vehicle on a misty, overcast night, according to the report.

The officer had been patrolling the area in search of the man after receiving a report around 10:35 p.m. AT of someone walking along the highway, "possibly into traffic."

One eyewitness reported seeing a young man run "full tilt" to the yellow line of the two-lane highway and turn around, according to SIRT's report.

SIRT concluded there are no grounds for charges against the officer.

"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," the report said.

Truck driver thought he hit deer

The report said the driver of the tractor-trailer who initially hit the man "heard a bang" and believed "he had just struck a deer in the middle of the road."

The next morning, the driver heard about the fatal crash and went to the Stellarton RCMP detachment to report what happened. Investigators seized the truck and determined it had struck the pedestrian, not a deer.

The report said the driver was fully co-operative with investigators.

"There is absolutely no fault on [the truck driver] in striking [the man] and certainly it is understandable to assume it was a deer that he struck," the report said.

MORE TOP STORIES