Two men died and nine others were injured, two seriously, when the driver of a pickup truck hit them on Monday while they were walking on the edge of the 132, in Amqui, in Bas-Saint-Laurent. At least twelve people were “taken care of” by the Amqui hospital, six of whom had to be transported to hospitals outside the region.
The event occurred around 3 p.m. on Monday afternoon, near the La Captive microbrewery, not far from downtown Amqui. The driver, a 38-year-old man residing in the area, was arrested for hit and run causing death after surrendering on his own, confirmed the Sûreté du Québec (SQ).
“The driver of the van struck several pedestrians who were walking along Route 132, which is called Saint-Benoît Boulevard West here, for a certain distance. We are talking about eleven people who were affected by the impact of the van, “said SQ spokesperson Claude Doiron.
“We are not talking about a group of individuals, these are pedestrians who were walking a certain distance between them, along Route 132,” he said.
The suspect was still met by SQ investigators on Monday evening. All the hypotheses are still on the table to explain the cause of this gesture, but we assure that it is an isolated gesture. “There is no danger for the population. We are really talking about an isolated gesture on the part of an individual,” insisted Claude Doiron.
As for the two people who lost their lives, they are two men, a septuagenarian and a sixty-something, confirmed the SQ.
“When we got to Amqui, there was an ambulance and someone lying on the side of the road. About 400 feet away, there was another person on the ground and a woman from the Sûreté du Québec was giving him a heart massage. In all, I counted at least four adults on the ground,” Alain Gilbert told La Presse.
The trucker from Saint-Hyacinthe passed through Amqui, heading for New Richmond, a few minutes after the tragedy. “I saw people panicking on the sidewalk,” he recalls.
The Bas-Saint-Laurent Integrated Health and Social Services Center confirmed that six victims had been transported outside the region in order to receive health care, at least three in Quebec City, one in Montreal and another in Rimouski.
Reached late Monday afternoon, the mayor of Amqui, Sylvie Blanchette, was still in shock from the tragic event that had struck the community of some 6,200 inhabitants.
“We just had a great spring break with great weather. We never believe it’s going to happen to us, we see dramas like that on the news, but we never could have imagined that it would hit Amqui, “said the chosen one, visibly upset.
“I am taking the direction of Amqui and canceling my presence tomorrow at the National Assembly. […] The toll would be very heavy. […] I am troubled by what is being reported to me, ”commented local MP Pascal Bérubé on Twitter.
“Preliminary information reports a serious accident in Amqui. The teams are on their way and we are monitoring the situation closely, ”reacted the Minister of Public Security, François Bonnardel, announcing that he would also go to Amqui.
“I just spoke to MP Pascal Bérubé and Amqui Mayor Sylvie Blanchette. I offered them my full support. We will be there for the people of Amqui,” said Quebec Premier François Legault.
Psychosocial support is offered for witnesses, said Bloc Québécois MP for Avignon-La Mitis-Matane-Matapédia, Kristina Michaud, on Facebook. “While waiting to know more, thank you to the police, responders, ambulance and health personnel who are doing everything to assist the injured,” she added.
Bypasses have been set up to allow collision investigators to go on site to try to reconstruct the circumstances that led to the tragedy.
The spokesperson for the Bas-Saint-Laurent Integrated Health and Social Services Center (CISSS), Gilles Turmel, confirmed that a code orange is in progress at the Amqui hospital. A dozen people were “taken care of” there, he said.
“You have to understand that we get people who weren’t directly involved in the accident, but who still show up to the emergency room in a state of shock and we treat them anyway,” he explains. -he.
All resources were mobilized for this at the Amqui hospital while reinforcements were even called.
At the start of the evening, there were many reactions on social networks. “My heart goes out to the citizens of Amqui, Quebec. I am thinking of all those affected as we await more information on today’s tragic events. To first responders: Thank you for your speed, courage and professionalism,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted.