It’s been a year, but Adam Leduc is still waiting for the phone to ring and to hear his brother’s voice on the other end.
“It’s still not real for me,” said Adam of the passing of his brother Andrew.
Family and friends of Andrew Leduc gathered Saturday, Aug. 9, to mark the one year anniversary of the death of the 37 year-old son, brother and father to three young children who was struck and killed by a semi truck driven by a Surrey RCMP consultant.
Police blocked off a lane of traffic on the Langley Bypass as loved ones, including Andrew’s mom, brother, twin sisters and two daughters, met on the side of the road at the spot where he was killed, near the 19500 block of the Bypass.
The anniversary comes only weeks after a RCMP investigation cleared the driver, a consultant who the RCMP and other law enforcement agencies employ to assist in traffic investigations, of wrongdoing even though he did not stop after the accident.
“It kind of brings everything back up again,” said Adam of the conclusion of the investigation, adding that the family is nowhere close to having closure.
“He’s got three young kids who are going to grow up now never really knowing their dad,” he said of Andrew’s children, the youngest of whom was just six-months old at the time of his death.
“Everything with him was about the kids, taking them out and being with them.”
The two dozen attendees honoured Andrew by releasing bright red balloons – decorated with hand-drawn messages remembering him – into the cloudless summer sky.
According to police investigation, on Aug. 7, 2013, a consultant for the Surrey RCMP was driving east in the 19500 block of the Bypass at 3 a.m., coming from working with Surrey Mounties in recreating another unrelated crash, when he saw what he thought was a rolled-up sleeping bag on the road. The driver claims he couldn’t avoid hitting the sleeping bag, so continued and felt a bump.
It was, in fact, Andrew bending over the curb lane. He was thrown more than 100 feet into the opposite lanes and pronounced dead at the scene.
According to the investigation, the driver slowed to look in his mirrors after feeling a bump, but seeing nothing kept driving all the way back to a storage yard in Mission to drop off the borrowed semi. There he noticed blood on the truck, and said he knew he had hit an animal or person. He washed the blood off, he said, because he didn’t want to leave it for the owner to clean up.
The driver did not call police to report he likely hit someone until several hours later, first stopping for coffee and gas, although in the police investigation it was revealed that the man’s cellphone battery was dead at the time.
“I wish [the driver] would man up and step forward and admit what he’s done, because I don’t buy his story quite frankly,” Adam said.
An eight month investigation by Surrey RCMP, supported by the Police Complaints Commission, cleared the RCMP consultant of wrongdoing, on the grounds that he cooperated with police and that there was no evidence he knew he hit anyone at the time. No criminal charges are being sought.
The report also noted that Andrew had appeared impaired to witnesses on the night in question and had methadone in his blood.
“Things like the driver washing the blood off the truck, I find that completely unacceptable, even to try to stick to his story saying it’s an animal … it doesn’t make any sense. He should have notified the police right away, especially being that he worked for the police,” said Adam.
Despite the recent report, the family hasn’t given up on justice for Andrew. According to Adam, he plans on submitting a Freedom of Information request to obtain the police report from the incident, as well as writing a letter to the attorney general to see if the office would consider re-opening the investigation.
Although he knows “chances are pretty slim”, Adam said he wants to keep fighting.
“At least we can show [his] kids when they grow up we did try, and that’s very important for me, to know we made an effort to get some justice for him.”