This is a tragic day for the Nova Scotia RCMP and our entire RCMP family.
Last evening at approximately 6 p.m. we lost one of our own. Constable Francis Deschênes was killed while on duty with Northwest Traffic Services-Amherst. Cst. Deschênes was stopped and providing assistance to motorists on Highway #2 in Memramcook, New Brunswick at the time of the fatal crash.
Earlier today I met with Cst. Deschênes' wife and members of his family. They are dealing with an unimaginable tragedy and I ask that they be given the privacy and respect they deserve as they grieve the loss of their husband, son, brother, and friend.
It is extremely challenging to describe what it feels like when we lose one of our own. In the RCMP, we are a family and every employee in Nova Scotia and across the country is impacted by the loss of Francis.
Francis, or Frank as he was better known, joined the RCMP in 2004. He was a 12-year-veteran of the Force and was first posted to Stewiacke Detachment and Bible Hill Detachment before accepting an opportunity to join the Musical Ride. Following that time, he returned to Nova Scotia and joined Traffic Services. He was also a member of the Special Tactical Operations/Tact Troop and was a Traffic Reconstructionist. In 2013, he received the Queen's Diamond Jubilee medal.
I am not able to provide many details right now, as there is an active criminal investigation led by the RCMP into the fatal collision. What I can say is that Cst. Deschênes was working on duty in his role as a Traffic Services member, and was using a marked police car. It appears he stopped to help two people in an SUV, to assist in changing their tire, when a utility van collided with his police car and the SUV.
Cst. Deschênes was pronounced deceased at the scene just after 6 p.m. The two people who were with the SUV were taken to hospital and released. The driver of the van was also treated at the hospital and taken into police custody.
In the days and weeks ahead, our focus will be on the continued support for Cst. Deschênes' family, friends and colleagues.
This is going to be a tough road ahead and we have to take care of each other and ensure people are receiving the care and support they require.