**** RCMP Media Release
Today is the National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims. To remember the victims and highlight the importance of road safety, we’ll be sharing first responders’ experiences throughout the day. Here’s RCMPNS Cpl. Dal Hutchinson’s story.
Several years ago on a Fall evening, I was dispatched to a fatal collision on a 100 series highway. Other RCMP members were already on scene, but I was required to attend as well since I was the shift supervisor.
En route, I learned that the person killed was someone I knew.
When I arrived, I saw a group of firefighters standing behind the fire truck. Two of my co-workers met me and gave me more details. Then I saw the victim lying covered in middle of the highway. Next to the victim, I saw an item of clothing that they were known to wear. The victim had been wearing it every other time I had seen them. The image of the victim’s covered body next to that signature piece of clothing is something I’ll never forget.
There was a lot going on – phone calls to make, radio transmissions, coordinating the collision scene – but my colleagues, who I deeply respect, had it under control.
We decided that another member and I would do the next of kin notification together. This is something every police officer dreads, but we work hard to do it with respect and professionalism, as we know it leaves a lasting impression on loved ones.
Heading to the victim’s front door, no words were spoken. Our hearts were aching as we prepared to deliver the most upsetting news possible. When the door opened, we were invited inside and shared what had happened.
We stayed for about two hours to help make phone calls and offer comfort and support. As we were preparing to leave, another RCMP member arrived. He was carrying the clothing item that I had noticed at the collision scene earlier. Everyone at the home knew the item’s significance, so when it was given to the victim’s loved one, the room went silent.
First responders are impacted by the tragedies we see and we grieve for those who have lost loved ones. On this National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims, I ask you to take a moment to remember those killed or seriously injured on our roads. Life is too short. Embrace every day and please drive safely.