MONTREAL—After a second lethal automobile rampage in two months, Quebec’s public security minister says it might be time to overview whether or not folks with sure psychological well being circumstances ought to be prevented from getting behind the wheel.
François Bonnardel, talking within the wake of an incident Monday that killed two folks and injured 9 others in Amqui, Que., stated the federal government has an obligation to overview the details of the case to find out whether or not measures will be taken to enhance public security within the province.
The alleged driver of the Ford F-150 truck, Steeve Gagnon, reportedly turned himself in to police and appeared in court docket Tuesday to face felony costs in reference to the deaths of 65-year-old Gerald Charest and 73-year-old Jean Lafreniere, each of Amqui.
A small group of residents confirmed as much as boo and heckle as 38-year-old Gagnon was led in handcuffs into the courthouse in Amqui, about 350 kilometres northeast of Quebec Metropolis.
The slim, bearded man, sporting glasses and a gray T-shirt, didn’t communicate in court docket Tuesday. Gagnon faces two costs of harmful driving inflicting loss of life and can stay in custody till his subsequent court docket look on April 5.
Among the many injured are two youngsters, one who’s three years previous and one other who’s lower than one 12 months previous. Quebec provincial police stated earlier they consider the suspect acted intentionally and with premeditation on Monday afternoon, however they didn’t counsel a motive.
Final month, an identical incident resulted within the deaths of two younger youngsters when a metropolis bus driver in Laval, north of Montreal, drove right into a daycare. In that case, witnesses stated that the alleged driver, Pierre Ny St-Amand, was in a delirious rage and had taken off his pants following the crash and needed to be forcibly restrained by a number of folks till police arrived.
St-Amand was discovered match to face trial at his final court docket look on Feb. 24, however should endure a court-ordered psychiatric analysis to find out whether or not he will be held criminally liable for the deaths.
“We are able to’t presume something with the motive force on this case. Was it intentional? Was there an issue of psychological well being? We don’t know,” Bonnardel stated of this week’s tragedy, throughout a briefing with reporters in Amqui, a city within the Gaspé Peninsula about 400 kilometres northeast of Quebec Metropolis.
“However every time that one thing like this happens we’re disturbed as elected officers, and we ask ourselves what can we do or what might we now have finished to forestall it?”
In an earlier interview Tuesday with Radio-Canada, the minister stated officers have to know if folks liable for such acts have psychological well being issues and, if that’s the case, whether or not they had been receiving medical therapy.
“And after that,” he continued, “if these folks can receive a driver’s licence.”
Ontario already has measures in place to droop an individual’s driver’s licence if she or he is judged medically unfit to function a motorized vehicle, together with cognitive, motor or visible impairments, substance abuse issues or a identified psychiatric sickness.
The Star reported extensively over the past 12 months on medical situation stories, which well being professionals should full and transmit to Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation once they encounter a affected person deemed to have a “high-risk” situation that might make them a hazard on the roads.
The Star’s reporting included the case of a lady who obtained in-hospital psychiatric therapy for despair solely to search out, three days later and with none warning, that her licence had been suspended by the provincial transportation ministry. She appealed the choice, testified that earlier than a tribunal that she was not psychotic or suicidal, and had her licence reinstated.
Quebec, nonetheless, has no such measures in place to revoke a person with a normal licence to function vehicles, bikes or scooters till the licence-holder reaches the age of 75 and should declare any pertinent medical circumstances.
Truck and bus drivers in Quebec should endure common medical exams after reaching the age of 45.
Chris Summerville, chief government of the Schizophrenia Society of Canada, warned in opposition to studying the information of the deaths in Amqui and drawing the conclusion that anybody with a psychological well being prognosis poses a threat to public security.
“Ninety-seven per cent of individuals with schizophrenia and people with psychosis are non-violent, by no means are available contact with the felony justice system. So it’s not primarily based on good science and never primarily based on what we learn about folks with the ability to dwell past the constraints of a psychological sickness with function, hope and high quality of life.”
Summerville additionally warned that depriving folks with psychological well being diagnoses of a licence might deprive them of a method of attending to work, or of essential social connections.
Within the information convention, Bonnardel insisted that he was “considering out loud” when he spoke about limiting the driving privileges of individuals with psychological well being issues and clarified that the provincial authorities was not saying a change or overview of any insurance policies.
“These mindless murders are tough to forestall. You’ll be able to put all the things in place and tomorrow morning somebody can determined to leap in a automobile or a truck and hit folks, however that is my duty and our duties as elected officers … to do the work and see what will be finished,” he stated.
“Is it relevant in all circumstances? Absolutely not, but it surely’s nonetheless our job to make sure the security and to reassure the inhabitants of Quebec.”
With recordsdata from The Canadian Press
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