Deaths on the job

Seeing as I’m a reporter, I am often privy to some of the world’s more unseemly happenings.

I have recently had the chance to take a look at a huge bust of guns and ammunition. That was pretty neat. I wish they could have let me touch them, but I understand why I couldn’t. Cross contamination of evidence and all that.

Then there was my RCMP ridealong, where we apprehended a driver who had had too much to drink. And also had an unloaded gun in his trunk. That was an interesting night.

But the last three weeks have certainly blown those two incidents out of the water.

Why? You ask.

I have had to report on a double homicide and two fatal traffic collisions.

The homicide was shocking, because it was the first one in the Westlock area in many years. So many years, in fact, that no one in the office could remember the last one.

It was a fairly uncomfortable experience. You had a man allegedly shoot and kill his son and his son’s friend, which also robbed one woman of her child and her husband in one fell swoop. Not to mention the family of the friend. Then there was the awkwardness of speaking to a family friend.

I don’t mean to sound all ‘woe is me,’ but there are some parts of this job I really hate.

Then there were the two fatal traffic collisions in three days.

On Jan. 13 we had a man hit two other men who were standing beside a tow truck as it was pulling a truck out of the ditch. One of the men struck was killed and the other was transported to hospital by air ambulance.

Fortunately, yet unfortunately, I was on scene about two hours after the incident took place. So I didn’t see any bodies. But in retrospect I should have. See, the incident took place at around 19.30, and I went for a swim at 20.00, getting to the pool at around 19.45 or so. The crash site was visible from the pool, as I could see RCMP lights flashing as I approached the pool. But I thought it was simply someone being pulled over, so I didn’t go investigate. Not like I would have had my camera with me, anyway.

I only went to the scene when I got a text from my boss telling me about a crash.

It was certainly a shock, when I got on scene and the officer told me what happened. He gave a rather vivid description, which I won’t repeat here.

The Jan. 15 crash was, I can only describe it as such, a freak accident.

What happened there was a vehicle was blown off the road into the ditch by some incredibly strong wind gusts.

The driver of that vehicle got out to survey the situation, and was struck and killed by a twin-trailer grain truck that also got blown off the road.

The body was still in the ditch when I got there. First body I’ve seen that wasn’t at a funeral.

I have been encouraged, if I feel I need it, to talk to people and seek counselling. I don’t know if I will follow through, because right now I feel OK.

We’ll see how things pan out over the next few days and weeks.

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