Funeral planned for man killed in car crash while be­ing treated for PTSD: Fam­ily

The Intelligencer (Belleville) - - NATIONAL -

CHETI­CAMP, N.S. — A mil­i­tary vet­eran who died in an al­leged hit and run in Cape Bre­ton will be laid to rest Satur­day, as a fam­ily mem­ber ques­tions how he wound up walk­ing on a high­way near the hospi­tal where he was re­ceiv­ing treat­ment for post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der.

Ida LeLievre says her cousin, Jackie De­veau, was struck by a car on High­way 125 near Syd­ney last Satur­day, only two days after check­ing him­self into Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Hospi­tal for psy­cho­log­i­cal care.

The 54-year-old man died in the same hospi­tal a few hours later, ac­cord­ing to po­lice.

“For us, I guess the ques­tion is ... Where did things go wrong?” LeLievre said.

“Where is that crack in the sys­tem that makes it so that peo­ple like my brother and so many oth­ers end up dead, or end up in­jur­ing oth­ers, be­fore we do any­thing about it?”

RCMP say the car con­tin­ued down the high­way through the com­mu­nity of Mira Road with­out stop­ping. In­ves­ti­ga­tors are look­ing for the driver of a grey Volk­swa­gen with dam­age on its front and pas­sen­ger side.

LeLievre says the close-knit fam­ily from the town of Cheti­camp has been try­ing to re­duce their grief by re­mem­ber­ing the bar­rel-chested man who fought to make a dif­fer­ence through the good times and bad.

“He lived and loved, and he loved to live,” she says. “And he loved to the depths of his soul.”

LeLievre says she and De­veau were more like twins than cousins, hav­ing grown up un­der the same roof in the fran­co­phone com­mu­nity on the is­land’s west coast, where he re­cently re­turned to re­tire with his wife of more than three decades.

De­veau served in the Royal Cana­dian Air Force for around 35 years and raised two sons who de­cided to pur­sue mil­i­tary ca­reers of their own, she says.

LeLievre says her rel­a­tive’s mil­i­tary ser­vice left “in­vis­i­ble scars.”

She says De­veau was di­ag­nosed with PTSD shortly after as­sist­ing in the cleanup of Swis­sair Flight 111, which crashed into the At­lantic Ocean near Peggy’s Cove in 1998.

De­veau sought psy­cho­log­i­cal care last Thurs­day after show­ing signs of stress re­lated to his PTSD.

“(He had) come to the con­clu­sion that he needed help and that he couldn’t do this by him­self,” she said dur­ing a tele­phone in­ter­view ear­lier this week. “We helped him get what we thought was that help.”

LeLievre says his fam­ily was led to be­lieve De­veau would be un­der staff su­per­vi­sion and she doesn’t know how he ended up on the side of a high­way last Satur­day.

“It’s just be­yond my com­pre­hen­sion, and we will def­i­nitely be look­ing for an­swers,” she says. “Where was the break­down in com­mu­ni­ca­tion that made it so that no­body took the nec­es­sary mea­sures to bring him to safety?”

The Nova Sco­tia Health Au­thor­ity says it doesn’t com­ment on spe­cific cases, cit­ing pri­vacy con­cerns.

“My brother will have a voice be­yond his death, be­cause he be­lieved we’re not do­ing enough for peo­ple who suf­fer from PTSD,” said LeLievre.

“This is some­thing that they feel that they have to carry by them­selves, and that should never be.”

De­veau will be in­terred at the St-Pierre ceme­tery in Cheti­camp on Satur­day, and his fam­ily is ask­ing that mourn­ers make do­na­tions to Soldier On, a vet­eran’s health or­ga­ni­za­tion.

IDA LELIEVRE HANDOUT

Jackie De­veau, right, pic­tured in a fam­ily handout photo with his wife Lorna, re­turned to his home­town of Cheti­camp, N.S., last year to re­tire.

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