Relatives of a 19-year-old man killed after he fled from an ambulance on the Trans-Canada Highway early Monday are looking for answers about what happened.
Riley Andersen Fowlow of Port Rexton was being taken to a health facility in St. John's when the incident occurred.
Eric Squires, the Anglican minister in Port Rexton, said Fowlow's family is very upset.
"They feel let down by society, by Eastern Health and law enforcement," said Squires. "This is a tragedy that shouldn't have happened as far as they are concerned, and they have a lot of questions."
Trouble started at Fowlow's home
Sources close to the family said Fowlow, who had been struggling with mental health issues, became agitated at home on Sunday night.
He left his house and went to a hostel next door. At some point, paramedics were called.
Sources said paramedics and Fowlow's father were unable to handle the teen, so the RCMP were called in to help with the situation. Police could not get Fowlow's hands behind his back to handcuff him, so they cuffed him in front and drove him in a police cruiser to the hospital in Clarenville.
Fowlow apparently calmed down when he got to the hospital, but he was not sedated.
He was then taken by ambulance, with plans to transfer him to another health facility in St. John's.
Sources said the RCMP told Fowlow's family that he became agitated again on the ride to St. John's and took off his seat belt.
Police said the ambulance driver slowed down because paramedics were afraid Fowlow would jump out of the vehicle, which he eventually did.
Eastern Health issues apology
On Tuesday evening, Eastern Health CEO Vickie Kaminski apologized on behalf of the health authority for the death of Fowlow, and she added that the investigation into what happened should take about two weeks.
Fowlow's family has not been able to make funeral arrangements because they're still waiting for the coroner to release the young man's body.
But Rev. Squires said Fowlow's family won't be able to put the tragedy to rest with the release of Fowlow's body.
"This is not over for them," said Squires. "They're hoping to put their son to rest and once their son is put to rest they're going to be pursuing this to get the answers that they need."