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Van driver released after crash that killed Nova Scotia RCMP officer

September 14, 2017 - 12:57 PM

FREDERICTON - The RCMP is seeking the public's help in its investigation into the crash Tuesday night near Memramcook, N.B., that killed a Nova Scotia Mountie who had stopped to help motorists change a flat tire.

Const. Frank Deschenes was assisting the two occupants of an SUV when a cargo van plowed into his cruiser and the SUV.

The male driver of the van — a dark blue 2008 Dodge with Pennsylvania licence plate ZBN 8883 — was released from custody Wednesday evening on conditions set by a court.

No charges have been laid.

RCMP Cpl. Jullie Rogers-Marsh says investigators want to speak to any motorists who saw the van.

"Police are asking anyone who was travelling on the Trans-Canada Highway between Moncton and Memramcook between 5:45 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. on Sept. 12, and has any information, they're asked to call the RCMP," she said.

"We want to know if the van was driving erratically, or any information like that."

Rogers-Marsh says police have spoken to several witnesses and would like to talk to anyone with information who has not yet spoken to the RCMP.

Deschenes was known as a dedicated Mountie who worked to educate the public about the need to slow down when driving past emergency vehicles.

The 35-year-old officer — originally from northwest New Brunswick — was a former member of the force's famed Musical Ride, and had just gotten married this summer.

Nine years ago, Deschenes was praised for preventing a possible train derailment with just seconds to spare by putting himself in the path of an oncoming train.

Early on Dec. 1, 2008, a car was stuck on railway tracks just south of Brookfield, N.S., after striking a pole and spinning out of control as a CN freight train approached.

Deschenes acted calmly and coolly by using his police cruiser to push the car off the tracks just 45 seconds before the train arrived.

Tributes to Deschenes have been pouring in on social media and in books of condolence that have been placed at Nova Scotia RCMP detachments in Amherst, Brookfield and Halifax.

"My deep condolences to family & friends of RCMP Cst. Frank Deschenes — killed in the line of duty last night while helping a driver," Prime Minister Trudeau wrote on Twitter.

Premier Brian Gallant offered condolences on behalf of all New Brunswickers.

"As a recipient of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee medal, he was truly a hero," Gallant wrote on his Twitter account.

Meanwhile one woman wrote on Facebook "You touched my life one day, it was but a brief encounter, but your kindness will never be forgotten."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

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