2 dead after pickup truck hit several pedestrians in Amqui, Que.
Two people have been killed and nine others injured after a pickup truck struck pedestrians in Amqui, Que., about 400 miles northeast of Montreal, Quebec provincial police said.
According to a Sûreté du Québec (SQ) spokesman, the driver, a 38-year-old man, fled the scene after the collision but later turned himself in and was arrested at the Amqui Police Station.
The incident happened just after 3 p.m. Monday in front of the Captive microbrewery on Boulevard Saint-Benoît.
“The driver of the pickup truck hit pedestrians walking down Route 132. He continued a certain distance and hit other pedestrians,” said Sgt. Claude Doiron.
Two men, one in his 70s and one in his 60s, have died. Two people have serious injuries. Some victims were flown to a Quebec City hospital, while others were treated at the scene.
Gilles Turmel, a spokesman for the local health authority, said a code orange was issued at Amqui hospital because there were six or more victims.
Psychological support sent to the collision site
The CISSS du Bas-Saint-Laurent has also deployed psychological support directly to the scene of the collision as many witnesses are in shock, Turmel said.
Similar support is provided at the hospital, he added.
Member of the National Assembly for the region Pascal Bérubé canceled his plans to be in the legislature on Tuesday and headed to Amqui – a town of about 6,000 people in his riding style of Matane-Matapédia.
Bérubé, who is with the Parti Québécois, said on Twitter that he was in touch with the province’s Minister of Public Security, François Bonnardel.
In an interview on the Radio Canada radio program Meme frequencyBérubé said he had received “very disturbing information” about the incident.
“I get reports of dead people. I’ve had reports of injured pedestrians and children,” he said. “It is a terrible tragedy.”
The police did not provide information on the age of the injured on Monday afternoon.
Witnesses see several victims on the ground
Amqui Mayor Sylvie Blanchette, who arrived at the scene of the accident, said she was there for citizens
“We know that they will need support and that is what we will do over the next few hours and days,” she said.
About two hours after the collision, Quebec Deputy Prime Minister Geneviève Guilbault told Radio-Canada that it was too early to say whether the driver intentionally hit the pedestrians, but the incident reminded her of what happened in Laval last month – where police say a city bus was deliberately smashed into a day care center, killing two children.
The fact that CISSS is quickly sending psychological support to the scene is a clear sign that this is a serious tragedy, she said, but it’s still unclear how many victims there were.
Trucker Alain Gilbert was driving when he noticed an ambulance speeding behind him with sirens wailing Monday, he said. He stopped to let the ambulance pass and found himself at the scene of the accident a short time later at around 3:15 p.m
He told Radio-Canada he saw at least four adults lying on the ground 500 meters away. He saw an SQ officer perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on a victim. He said police and other rescuers were already there, and others came to help while he watched.
Another witness, Chantal Poirier, said she works nearby. She and her colleagues pulled back the curtain and “I saw one, two, three, four people on the floor.”
She went outside to a victim and “I just stayed with her,” she said.
“It is shocking what happened in Amqui,” Premier François Legault said on Twitter. “All my thoughts are with the victims and their families. Many thanks to the first responders on site.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also responded on Twitter, saying his heart is “with the people of Amqui, Quebec today.”
“As we learn more of the tragic events, my thoughts are with everyone involved,” Trudeau said. “To First Responders: Thank you for acting quickly, boldly and professionally.”