2 children, 2 adults dead after car crash in Beauport, Que.

The motorist behind Thursday's fatal collision is suspected of driving while under the influence. He has been charged with multiple counts of dangerous driving causing injury and death.

Community groups in Montreal call on government to crack down on drunk driving

Police arrested a motorist after a collision on Dufferin-Montmorency Highway in Beauport, Que., Thursday. (Frédéric Vigeant/Radio-Canada )

Provincial police confirmed on Saturday that a 10-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy have died following a car accident in Beauport, a suburb located just north of Quebec City.

The incident took place on Thursday. It was announced earlier that the two people travelling in the same vehicle as the kids — Shellie Fletcher, 44, and James Fletcher, 68, — also died in the crash. 

Police have not released details about the relationship between the victims. 

The driver involved in the fatal crash is being charged with dangerous driving causing death. He is facing eight charges in total related to dangerous driving.

Éric Légaré, 43, appeared in court remotely from a hospital in Quebec City Friday afternoon, where he was being treated for minor injuries.

Police believe ‌he was ‌under‌ ‌the‌ ‌influence‌ when he was travelling‌ ‌eastbound‌ at‌ ‌a‌ ‌high‌ ‌speed‌ ‌on the Dufferin-Montmorency‌ ‌Highway‌ in Beauport ‌and collided‌ ‌with‌ ‌three‌ ‌vehicles‌ ‌lined‌ ‌up‌ ‌at‌ ‌a traffic‌ ‌light ‌late‌ ‌Thursday‌ ‌afternoon‌.

According to Quebec provincial police, the collision took place at‌ ‌the‌ ‌intersection‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌highway ‌and‌ ‌François-de-‌Laval‌ Boulevard ‌in‌ ‌Beauport,‌ Que., ‌around‌ ‌5:45‌ ‌p.m.

The four passengers who died were in the first vehicle that was hit. The two children in the back seat were initially taken to hospital in critical condition, where they later died. 

In‌ ‌the‌ ‌second‌ ‌vehicle,‌ ‌one person‌ ‌was‌ ‌transported‌ ‌to‌ ‌hospital‌ ‌to‌ ‌be treat‌ed for minor‌ ‌injuries.‌ ‌

No‌ ‌one‌ ‌was‌ ‌injured‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌third‌ ‌vehicle that was stopped at the light.‌ ‌

'Oh no, not again'

When Hubert Sacy heard the news of the crash, he said his first reaction was, "Oh no, not again." 

For the director of Éduc'alcool, a non-profit group that promotes moderate alcohol consumption in Quebec, the main concern is not how to punish people who drive under the influence, but how to stop them from getting behind the wheel in the first place.

He says increasing sobriety checkpoints or roadblocks is one way, as "we all know that knowing that you may be caught is an important determinant of decreasing drunk driving," he said. 

The second way, Sacy says, is for Quebec to mandate a course for staff that serve alcohol at restaurants and bars that would teach them the warning signs of a prospective drunk driver. This type of course is mandatory everywhere else in Canada, he says. 

Hubert Sacy, director general of Éduc'alcool, says increasing sobriety checkpoints and mandating a course for wait staff that serve alcohol are ways to decrease drunk driving. (CBC)

"This course makes servers of alcohol aware of the situation. It helps them detect those who are going to drink too much, it helps them stop the service without hurting the clients and it helps them stop the client from driving if they're not in a position to do so."

Theresa-Anne Kramer, a spokesperson for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Montreal, says an alcohol interlock — a system that requires drivers to blow into a breathalyzer in order to start their car — should be a permanent car fixture for people caught driving under the influence.

"That is very efficient in stopping an impaired driver," she says, adding that it's high time "needless" tragedies stop occurring. 

"Our world will be deprived of Shellie and James and the two children forever. Why? Because somebody wanted to believe they could drive impaired," she said. 

"It's the most preventable of all crimes, [...] you just have to plan ahead, think ahead,"

with files from Radio-Canada, Rowan Kennedy


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