Family outraged over lack of charges in crash
The family of Andrew Leduc has spent almost an entire year waiting for justice, after the father of three was run over and killed by a semi bobtail truck driven by a Surrey RCMP consultant last August.
But justice did not come for Andrew, said family members, after hearing police will not recommend charges.
“I called up the lead investigator to get an update since we are nearing the anniversary of Andrew’s death (Aug. 7, 2013),” said Andrew’s older brother Adam last week.
“He tells me there is no supporting evidence to lay charges. It just hit me in the gut. I actually hung up on him because I couldn’t believe it.
“My brother is dead in the ground and this guy can take a vacation and relax,” said Adam.
Family members and friends have expressed their disappointment to The Times in the forms of letters and emails, since learning the outcome of the investigation.
Surrey RCMP Major Crimes said after a “comprehensive and thorough eight-month investigation, Surrey RCMP tentatively found that no criminality existed on the part of the driver involved in this collision.”
Police said the RCMP consultant driving the semi didn’t know he had hit and killed anyone until later, when he saw some troubling evidence on the truck.
Surrey RCMP Sgt. Dale Carr said the consultant’s cellphone battery had died so he went home and within a few hours after the crash, he called police.
“He didn’t alter evidence, he was co-operative. There was no criminal intent,” said Carr.
The BC Office of the Police Complaints Commission has reviewed the case and tentatively agrees with Surrey RCMP’s findings.
On Aug. 7, 2013, at 3 a.m., the consultant, after working with Surrey police recreating a crash which killed a Surrey RCMP officer, was travelling eastbound in the curb lane in the 19500 block of Langley Bypass when he struck and killed Leduc. He kept driving.
Leduc was thrown more than 100 feet into the opposite lanes and pronounced dead at the scene.
Prior to the RCMP consultant hitting Leduc, police confirm that other vehicles managed to swerve and avoid hitting Leduc who was walking in the curb travel lane of traffic.
“The driver knew he hit something but figured it was a minor thing, like debris, on the road,” said Carr. It wasn’t until he parked the semi in a yard in Mission that he saw what had happened.
For Adam, that doesn’t sit well.
“If this guy is a former traffic safety guy, and he knew he hit something, shouldn’t he stop and look?”
In the morning hours after Leduc was killed, police put out a description of the older model blue semi cab to the media and by mid-afternoon, Surrey RCMP had located and seized the semi.
The driver was located and was questioned by Surrey RCMP that same day.
Surrey RCMP asked the Independent Investigation Office to step in but the IIO turned it down because the driver in question was a consultant, not a member.
The investigation took almost one full year to complete.
Adam said the police even re-created the scene, using a police officer dressed in the same clothing and at that time of night.
“They concluded from that the driver wouldn’t have seen my brother.”
Leduc was likely intoxicated at the time he was walking along the Bypass, said his brother. But besides knowing a few things from asking friends about that night, the Leduc family have more questions than answers.
The Surrey RCMP said they plan to sit down with the Leducs to go over their findings.
His family has tried to piece together how he ended up at the busy thoroughfare at such a late hour.
“I had just rented him a storage unit at Maple Leafs Storage (on Langley Bypass) so he could store his stuff somewhere after moving out from his girlfriend’s house.
“For that night, we heard he was at a house in White Rock and someone arrived there that he didn’t want to see, so he left,” said Adam.
“We think maybe he was going to his storage locker to sleep that night. The storage was a few feet away from where he was hit,” said Adam.
There were witnesses, said Adam.
“How do you spit a body out that far and not see anything, or see the chaos in your rearview mirror. A semi driver’s sight lines are much better than a vehicle’s,” said Adam.
“This whole thing stinks,” said Adam.
Andrew weighed 220 pounds, he points out.
“You aren’t going to feel that?” he questions.
When the crash happened both police and the B.C. Coroner’s Office refused to give out Andrew’s name to the media. It’s unusual for a victim’s name not to be released.
“We don’t know why they didn’t release Andrew’s name all this time. All the public knew was a 37-year-old man was killed. Meanwhile our family is turned upside down. Andrew was loved by many. His mom, his twin sisters, his kids, his friends. He wasn’t perfect, we know, but what has happened here is wrong,” said Adam.
Carr recognizes the perception of police investigating a civilian death involving police, and coming up with no charges, doesn’t show well.
“We even made sure we had investigators who had never worked with this consultant so they would be impartial and we had an agency that investigates police look at the entire case. Our findings after a very thorough investigation is this isn’t a criminal matter,” said Carr.
Family and friends are planning to get together at the location Andrew was killed to remember him on Saturday, Aug. 9 at 2 p.m.