Twenty-six-year-old Sydney man charged in fatal hit and run
A man with a history of driving while prohibited is back behind bars, charged in connection with a fatal hit and run in March that claimed the life of a 54-year-old man.
Thomas Joseph Smith, 26, of Townsend Street, is charged with failing to stop at the scene of an accident, dangerous driving causing death, criminal negligence causing death by texting while driving and driving while disqualified.
Smith was arrested Friday after being released from jail where he was serving time for violating his federal parole.
After a brief provincial court appearance Monday, Smith was remanded and is to return to court Thursday for a bail hearing. While on remand, he was ordered to have no contact with 33 named individuals.
RCMP also reported Monday that two other individuals have also been charged in connection with the case. The pair, who have not been identified, are charged with being an accessory after the fact. They were released on conditions.
A spokesperson for the RCMP said further arrests are expected later this week.
The charges stem from the tragic death of 54-year-old Jackie Deveau of Cheticamp who police said died March 11 after being struck by a vehicle on Highway 125 near the Mira Road exit.
At the time he was struck, police said Deveau was flagging motorists for help near the exit. Investigators focused their attention on the driver of a grey Volkswagen with damage on its front and passenger side.
According to family members, two days prior to his death, Deveau voluntarily signed himself into the mental health unit of the Cape Breton Regional Hospital.
His sister, Ida LeLievre, explained her brother, who served with the Royal Canadian Air Force for 35 years, suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. He was diagnosed shortly after working on recovery efforts of Swissair Flight 111 that crashed near Peggy’s Cove in 1998.
In speaking to reporters Monday, LeLievre said the charges are “bittersweet” but the family will continue to focus on the positive, thanks largely to a groundswell of public support.
“It has been amazing the support we have received from around the world,” said LeLievre.
She described her brother as being a fair and just man and the family now puts its confidence in the justice system to ensure justice for Deveau.
Prosecutor Shane Russell said RCMP continue to work their investigation and were aided greatly by public tips.
He said the Crown will continue to oppose any release for Smith.
In 2015, Smith was sentenced to two years and 79 days on charges of dangerous driving, impaired (by a drug) driving, evading police, possession of marijuana, possession for the purpose of trafficking, four counts of breaching court orders and driving while disqualified.
He has recorded at least prior five convictions for driving while disqualified beginning in 2012.