Off-duty Winnipeg cop arrested after car hits and kills pedestrian

Relatives of a man who died in a collision that's led to the arrest of an off-duty Winnipeg police officer say he was a fun-loving young man who had a baby on the way.

Cody Severight, 23, dies after being taken to hospital

Cody Severight died Tuesday night. He was 23. (Cody Severight/Facebook)

Relatives of a man who died in a crash that led to the arrest of an off-duty Winnipeg police officer say he was a fun-loving young man who had a baby on the way.

CBC News has learned Cody Severight, 23, was the man who died after being hit by a car near the corner of Main Street and Sutherland Avenue Tuesday night.

"Cody was an outgoing and outspoken person. He would love to make everybody laugh," said Severight's stepmother, Barbara Thompson.

Winnipeg police said an off-duty officer has been arrested in connection with the death but no charges have been laid.

Witnesses told CBC News the vehicle that hit Severight left the scene, however police have not called it a hit-and-run.

A police spokesperson said no details about the arrest would be released until a news conference Wednesday morning.

Barbara Thompson said her son was outgoing. (Travis Golby/CBC)

'I heard a big smash'

Thompson said she had seen her son about a half-hour before the crash near the Sutherland Hotel. She said he'd left to go for a walk with his girlfriend.

"I was really shocked. I seen him just before that," she said.

Severight's sister, Terri Brass, said she was in the area around 8 p.m. CT when the crash happened.

Winnpeg police diverted traffic on Main Street northbound at Sutherland Avenue Tuesday night after witnesses said a man was hit by a vehicle. (Travis Golby/CBC)

"I thought it was two cars hitting each other, I heard a big smash," she said. "The car just kept on ... going, it didn't even stop."

'The best part of my life'

Brass said her brother loved to cook and was always there to help if people felt down.

"My little brother was the best part of life. When you're feeling down he'll pick you right up. My little brother was the awesomest little guy anybody would ever want."

Severight's family said they want answers from Winnipeg police — they learned about the officer's arrest from the media and want to know why the driver didn't stay with Severight.

Investigators work at Main Street and Sutherland Avenue on Tuesday night. (Travis Golby/CBC)

"Why didn't they tell us like right away?" asked Brass.

Clothes still remained outside the hotel on Main Street Tuesday night as police redirected traffic from the area and Severight's friends and family grieved inside the hotel.

Thompson spoke to CBC News earlier in the night while waiting for a ride to the hospital shortly after her son was hit. It was too late by the time she arrived. She said hospital staff wouldn't let her see her son because his death is part of an ongoing investigation.

The Independent Investigation Unit, which investigates all serious incidents involving Manitoba police officers, is probing the death.
Winnipeg police Const. Justin Holz, 34, has been charged with impaired driving causing death and failure to remain at the scene after a hit and run killed Cody Severight, 23, on Tuesday. 1:55

About the Author

Austin Grabish

Reporter

​Austin Grabish is a reporter for CBC News in Winnipeg​ where he files for TV, web and radio. ​​Born and raised in Manitoba, Austin has had an itch for news since he was young. He landed his first byline when he was just 18. Before joining CBC, he reported for several outlets with work running across the country.​ Email: austin.grabish@cbc.ca

With files from CBC's Shane Gibson