‘I will always be proud of David’
Widow of man killed in police accident relieved no charges will be laid
Suzanne (Sue) Cordy breaks down in tears, relieved that there will be no charges in the death of David Walsh, her partner of 23 years.
Nova Scotia’s independent Serious Incident Response Team released its report last week on a collision between a Cape Breton Regional Police Service vehicle and the 66-year-old retired volunteer firefighter on April 4.
Walsh was assisting police and emergency responders after a child fell from the secondfloor window of a neighbouring house.
According to the report, the officer’s actions were caused by momentary inattention and don’t constitute a criminal offence or justify any charges under the Motor Vehicle Act.
Sitting in Walsh’s favourite chair in the front room of their Perry Street home, Cordy said the couple was getting ready to go to his birthday party when he heard a commotion outside.
“If he had to go, he always said he wanted it to be in the front room of this house, and he died just feet away doing what he always did, helping in a time of need. I still can’t believe it happened, it’s like I’m waiting for him to come back from the cabin where he spent so many happy times with his fishing buddies.”
Recalling that fateful afternoon, Cordy said it was chaotic.
“David was helping direct traffic, I could see him, and when I looked again, he was down.”
She said she thought at first that everything was going to be all right.
“He went the way he wanted to, helping somebody, and that somebody was a child.”
Cordy said she was pleased that Serious Incident Response Team officials took the time to meet with her personally to explain the report.
“They treated me with nothing but respect. To get the real picture of what happened that day, you really had to be there. The focus of everyone there was on the child and I understand the youngster is doing well.
“We were always on the same page, I knew it was a tragic accident and I hope the officer involved knows this and gets on with his life. There is no hate in my heart, I’m glad David didn’t suffer,” she said, breaking down for a moment.
When he turned 65, Walsh retired as a volunteer firefighter from the North Sydney Fire Department, and more recently retired from Lawson Products where he worked as a salesman for more than 20 years.
Cordy said first met Walsh at an installation of officers for the North Sydney Fire Department.
“That’s when the whole adventure started. Like every couple, over the years we had our ups and downs but we also had plenty of laughs,” she said. “We were together for 23 years and knew each other for 26. We both loved the outdoors, did a lot of hiking and fishing together. The outdoors, that was his thing, he loved to hunt and fish.”
Doc, one of their two rescue cats, makes himself comfortable on Cordy’s lap as she talks about Walsh’s love of children and ani- mals.
“When I first met David he was with search and rescue, and enjoyed his time as a volunteer with the North Sydney Fire Department. He loved being involved in the annual Atlantic Burn Camp.”
The North Sydney Fire Department will present each camper at this year’s burn camp with a personalized gift featuring a tribute to Walsh.
“Since he retired, Dave was probably at the fire department more than when he was a volunteer,” said North Sydney Fire De- partment Chief Lloyd MacIntosh. “The burn camp was a big part of what Dave did from the time the camp started. We are getting the kids an extra special gift because Dave was an extra special part of it. It’s our way of honouring Dave and they will be presented during Carnival Night, something he really enjoyed.”
Cordy’s voice falters a little as she talks about how proud Walsh would be to be remembered in such a way.
“He would love it because again it’s the kids, it always comes back to the kids. He so enjoyed picking up prizes for the campers, he used to get some really nice ones. David didn’t like the limelight, but he would really love that people thought of him in this way, with such fondness.”
Cordy was pleased to learn that Walsh was recognized in the May edition of the Maclean’s magazine obituary feature The End, which recognizes everyday Canadians.
“I will always be proud of David and his caring spirit.”
Suzanne Cordy displays a favourite photo with her partner of 23 years, David Walsh, who died in a tragic accident in April.
Suzanne Cordy and David Walsh.