RCMP requests better social media etiquette from witnesses after fatal crash

RCMP in Nova Scotia are appealing to members of the public to be more careful in their use of social media around some stories. The appeal follows a fatal traffic collision in Wellington, outside Halifax.

'This is something we want people to stop and think about before they send that photo'

RCMP in Nova Scotia are appealing to members of the public to be more careful in their use of social media around some stories. (CBC)

RCMP in Nova Scotia are appealing to members of the public to be more careful in their use of social media around some stories.

The appeal follows a fatal traffic collision in Wellington, outside Halifax.

Two vehicles collided early Sunday evening at the intersection of Highway 2 and Abilene Avenue.

An 87-year-old man, the lone occupant of one of the vehicles, was pronounced dead at the scene.

A 15-year-old girl died later in hospital.  She was one of four teenage occupants of the second vehicle.

While police were still gathering evidence at the scene, the relatives of one of the deceased showed up. They'd read about the crash on social media.

"This is something we want people to stop and think about before they send that photo, before they share it on social media," RCMP Cpl. Dal Hutchinson said.

"Stop and think how you would feel if your loved one, your family member, your friend was in one of those vehicles."

Hutchinson said police don't reach out to family members until they're certain of the identities. He said that comes after they've finished interviewing witnesses at the scene.

But on this occasion, he said, the family got there first.

"The collision was horrific in nature and very disturbing to not only the first responders but people that lived in the area that rendered assistance to those involved," he said.

Hutchinson said this is not an isolated incident.

He said social media are full of posts that members of the public take as they drive by fires or crash scenes. He said people need to be more sensitive about the potential impact of these posts.

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Blair Rhodes

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Blair Rhodes has been a journalist for more than 34 years, the last 25 with CBC. His primary focus is on stories of crime and public safety.