SQofficer and John Abbott student die in crash
Second student death for Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue CEGEP
A Sûreté du Québec officer and a student from John Abbott College's police technology program died Sunday after the car they were in lost control after hitting a deer.
Montreal police media relations officer Daniel Lacoursière said a 25-year-old male officer, Sébastien Coghlan-Goyette, and a 22-year-old female student, Sophias Rigas, from the Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue CEGEP died of their injuries after being transported to an area hospital.
The accident occurred in Les Cèdres at close to 6 p.m. on November 14. Police say the officer driving the car was responding to a 911 call. "He was driving on route 340 east when he hit a deer," Lacoursière said.
The police cruiser left the road after striking the animal and careened violently into a tree.
Montreal police have taken over the investigation since it involved another police force and an on-duty officer.
An ongoing investigation being lead by the Montreal police major crimes division and its collision squad is expected to take a few weeks, Lacoursière said.
'Well liked' student
While John Abbott College declined to identify the student until her family has been notified, Jim Anderson, co-chair for the school's police technology program called the 22-year-old woman a "sweet kid" who was well liked by her fellow classmates.
"She was a good student, she worked very hard and really applied herself," he said, adding that in addition to her studies the young woman was working to pay her own way through school.
Anderson said the victim was one of 82 second-year students in a three-year police technology program. She was about to enter her fourth semester.
The entire department has 280 students enrolled in two or three year police tech programs.
Admission to the highly coveted programs is tough, Anderson noted. Few drop out once in. "She had personality-plus, she was very bilingual, she would have easily been hired by any number of police departments (upon completion of her studies)," he said.
The 82 second-year police tech students are required to complete 48 hours of hand-on internship training with a police force.
According to Anderson, the school works with Montreal police, the SQ and other police forces in order to place the students who complete the internships over several shifts.
"It's to give them relevant hands-on train- ing to see (what being a police officer) is like."
He said this is the first time the school has dealt with the death of a student who was fulfilling school required duties.
It is too soon to say whether any school policies will change as a result of the accident.
Meanwhile, the school is dealing with the second death of a student in two weeks. On October 31, Mitchell Bracken-Guenet, 17, a student in the school's fine arts program, died along with two other youths when they were struck by a Via Rail passenger train on theTurcot Yards train tracks.
As with that death, the school has made counselling services available to students or staffwho may need it.
"(The police technology) is a small department," said Debbie Cribb a John Abbott College spokesperson, adding all counselling is confidential.
In addition, teachers and students in the first class the victim would have attended were spoken to Monday morning.
Cribb could not say if the school or police tech department would hold a memorial service for the student.
A 25-year-old SQ officer and a 22year-old student from John Abbott College were killed Sunday when the car they were in hit a deer and crashed into a tree in Les Cèdres.