The family of a Langley, B.C., man killed last year in a hit-and-run incident is questioning why the civilian RCMP contractor involved wasn't arrested, after a final report on the case revealed he washed blood off his truck and stopped for coffee and gas before contacting police three hours later.
- Scroll down for the full report on the hit and run death of Andrew Leduc
Andrew Leduc, a 37-year-old father of three young children, was hit and killed on August 7, 2013 by a semi-truck on the Surrey side of the Langley Bypass around 3 a.m. while walking in the curb lane.
The truck driver, a civilian expert and consultant that RCMP and other law enforcement agencies use to assist in traffic investigations, did not stop.
After CBC News told the Leducs' story last week, the family received the final report by the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner, which clears the driver of all wrongdoing.
Colleen Leduc-Ledezma, the dead man's sister, said it's not the closure the family hoped for.
"I did truly believe that it was an accident and none of this would have happened if he just stayed at the scene," she said.
Adam Leduc, Andrew's brother, is upset and says he doesn't understand why the police did not arrest the driver.
"This is incredible. Just by reading what’s on here, I cannot understand why he wasn’t arrested," he said.
"This never would have happened with 'Joe average.' The guy just can’t get away with it because he works for the police.”
The driver was returning the truck to Starliner Transport yard in Mission, B.C., after having assisted Surrey RCMP with a re-enactment of a fatal vehicle collision they were investigating earlier in the day.
Other vehicles swerved to avoid Leduc
According to the OPCC report, Leduc appeared impaired to witnesses on the night in question and had methadone in his blood.
He was seen stumbling westbound, away from 60 Avenue, in the eastbound curb lane of the Langley Bypass, the report states, then apparently bent down to pick something up from the middle of the road.
Three vehicles had already swerved to avoid him, the report says, when the truck, driven by the civilian RCMP contractor, hit him around 3 a.m.
The driver, cited in the report, later told police he saw something in the road, but thought it was a rolled-up sleeping bag that had fallen off the back of a camper van.
"l just kept on going, checked the mirrors and there was nothing … around," the driver told police.
"The big thing l was thinking of was, 'Did I miss something in terms of … if there was a pedestrian that fell down or a drunk for instance?'"
Same Surrey police team investigates
Langley police arrived on the scene soon after the collision, the report says. But Surrey police took over the investigation — the same team who had earlier completed the re-enactment with the driver.
Upon getting a description of the truck, the report says, one of the team recognized the collision could involve the driver they had been working with earlier and left him a voice mail.
Another member of the team identified the potential conflict of interest, and the investigation was moved to the Surrey Serious Crimes Unit instead.
Meanwhile, the report says, the driver was returning the truck to the yard from which he had borrowed it.
Truck driver hosed blood off bumper
According to the report, the driver got to the yard at around 4 a.m. and while checking over the truck, noticed there was blood on the front bumper. He later told police he was deeply disturbed by this discovery.
“So that’s when I thought 'Oh no,' and I just … I felt pretty sick, you know … ‘cause I thought it was … an animal or a person,” he later told police.
The driver then hosed down the front bumper to wash the blood off, because, the report says, he did not want to leave the vehicle dirty for the owner.
When asked why he didn't call police when he realized he may have hit someone, according to the report, he claimed his cellphone battery was dead.
He then drove his own vehicle home, stopping to buy coffee and gas on the way. It wasn't until he arrived home at 6 a.m., three hours after the collision, that he contacted police.
The driver gave a voluntary statement to police that afternoon.
Headlights installed upside-down
The following day, police officers examining the truck found the driver's side of the bumper damaged slightly and body tissue on the vehicle.
They also found both passenger side headlamps had been installed upside-down, a factor that the report says contributed to the driver's inability to see the road and Leduc in the dark.
"The lighting conditions at the time were very poor in the area of the collision. These poor conditions were compounded by the misalignment of the headlights," the report states.
"The poor lighting conditions are an important factor in reconciling why [the driver] was not able to recognize Mr. Leduc as a pedestrian crouched in the roadway and why he did not take evasive action."
Statute of limitations expired
The Police Complaint Commissioner's report also considers a charge of failure to stop at the scene of an accident under the Criminal Code of Canada. The statute of limitations for the Provincial Motor Vehicle Act has already expired.
"At the time of the collision the driver did not believe that he had struck a pedestrian and continued on his way to return the vehicle," the report says.
"[He] was adamant that had he known that he had struck a pedestrian, he would have stopped and provided assistance."
It concludes that the driver was co-operative and consistent throughout the process — and based on the available evidence, no charges will be recommended.
"We will never know why Mr. Leduc was in the roadway at that time of the morning, apparently in search of something on the roadway.
"What is clear is that this very tragic incident was accidental in nature and that this has no doubt had a traumatic impact on the lives of his family."
Surrey RCMP's initial investigation found the driver was not criminally responsible, nor was there anything to indicate to investigators he was driving recklessly or carelessly.
RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Bert Paquet told the CBC police were prepared to reopen the investigation if the OPPC had recommended it, but that was not the case.
The Leduc family is considering pursuing a civil lawsuit. Leduc's sister Colleen says she still hopes the case will end up before the courts.
"Had he just stayed at the scene … we would have had those answers, we would have had that closure," she said.
"It shouldn't just be over."