RCMP mourning loss of Amherst officer
Deschenes killed while helping stranded motorist in Memramcook, N.B.
Mike Johnson is crestfallen at the loss of his friend, Const. Francis Deschenes. But he’s not surprised he lost his life helping someone else.
“That’s who Frank was,” Johnson, a retired RCMP officer, said Wednesday. “Frank was extremely helpful and concerned about people who needed help. That was his underlying reason for being in the RCMP and last night was one of those times when he stopped to help someone. It was ordinary for him.”
The 35-year-old member of RCMP Northwest Traffic Services-Amherst was killed Tuesday evening when he was struck and killed by a utility van while helping a pair of motorists change a tire on their sport utility vehicle on the Trans-Canada Highway in Memramcook, N.B.
He was pronounced dead at the scene while the two motorists he was assisting were treated and released from hospital. The driver of the utility van was treated at the scene and taken into custody.
Deschenes was recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013 and a former member of the RCMP’s Musical Ride.
Nova Scotia RCMP Commanding Officer, Assistant Commissioner Brian Brennan said couldn’t give further details into
the investigation and said it’s too early to determine if, and when, charges will be laid.
He said the investigation is being conducted by RCMP in New Brunswick.
“It is extremely challenging to describe what it feels like when we lose one of our own,” Brennan told a press conference Wednesday. “In the RCMP, we are a family and every employee in Nova Scotia and across the country is impacted by the loss of Francis.”
Johnson, who retired from the RCMP in 2011 and is now Cumberland County’s EMO manager, said he encountered Deschenes many times on the job when he was in the RCMP.
That relationship was rekindled after Johnson’s retirement from the force when Deschenes transferred to Amherst and joined the Defenders Motorcyle Club.
“We’ve ridden together and laughed, and we’ve planned and worked on a number of projects both professionally and privately. Frank is going to be a huge loss to the community, the force, the RCMP and the Defenders Motorcycle Club,” Johnson said.
He described his friend as a genuine individual with a profound
understanding of what was right and wrong. But, Johnson said, he was also a very compassionate individual.
Johnson said it’s going to take a long time for Deschenes’ fellow officers and friends to come to grips with what happened.
“Words escape me at the void that exists and how we’re going to fill his shoes,” Johnson said. “Many of us are numb dealing the loss. Some of us have been in shock and our thoughts of Frank are still so fresh in our minds that it’s hard to accept that he’s not here with us. There have been a lot of tears shed in this office, not only among people in uniform but among people in the community who have come in and people who knew Frank.”
Assistant Commission Brian Brennan, commanding officer of RCMP in Nova Scotia, speaks to the media on Wednesday following the death of 12-year veteran RCMP officer Const. Frank Deschenes.
Const. Francis Deschenes