Family of hit and run victim wants stiffest penalty possible for driver
Published Monday, July 31, 2017 4:58PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 1, 2017 10:21AM EDT
The day after a deadly crash in Pointe Calumet witnesses are still shocked by what they saw: a 66-year-old man instantly killed by a driver fleeing from police in a small town on the shores of Lake of Two Mountains -- followed by people tackling the driver as he tried to run away.
The deadly event began when police at the Pointe Calumet Beach Club spotted a driver acting erratically.
Police followed the vehicle when the driver suddenly sped off, but the vehicle quickly got out of sight of officers.
The driver was speeding along André Soucy St. when Jean Brien was walking in the crosswalk at 51st St.
His body went through the windshield and was trapped inside the car as it continued down the street, only coming to a halt two blocks later when the driver veered onto a front lawn, then went across the street and rammed into a hydro pole at 53rd St.
Guy Chagnon was in his backyard when he heard the first, and the second crash, then saw the driver running away on foot.
"My son chased after him, with another man, and they caught up to him at the park [two blocks away]," said Chagnon.
Other witnesses saw the driver trying to flee from the crash.
"One minute after the crash, the driver was running off," said Caroline Beaulieu.
Chagnon said it was evident that police were chasing the driver.
"We called 9-1-1 but we noticed that police were already in pursuit and they arrived a few seconds later," said Chagnon.
They arrested the driver moments after the crash and took him to hospital to be treated for minor injuries.
In the meantime Chagnon and others were trying to help passengers get out of the car, a woman in the front seat and a second man in the back, before they noticed Jean Brien's body.
The woman told Chagnon's wife the trio had been drinking, "having a party" at the nearby beach club.
Mathieu Grenon, 23, is now facing charges of dangerous driving causing death, hit and run causing death, and criminal negligence causing death.
Grenon suffered a concussion and other injuries during the accident, and remains in hospital under police guard.
Richard Brien said his brother, Jean, would not hurt a fly.
"My brother was one of the most calm, gentle people you could ever meet," said an obviously distraught Brien, who heard the fatal crash.
He said that Jean was well-known throughout the neighbourhood as he went for long walks on a near-daily basis, dropping into stores and seeing friends, nicknamed "Monsieur Cannette" because of his habit of picking up cans and bottles.
His brother and father often told Jean that he didn't need to do it, and Jean agreed, saying he didn't do it for the money.
"He would tell us no, I'm doing it for the environment," said Brien.
Jean never married and had no children. He is survived by his five brothers and sisters and his father.
That family is now calling for the driver to be severely punished.
"Give him the maximum. That's official," said Brien.
Grenon reportedly served nine months in prison when he was 18 for evading police during a chase. The Journal de Montreal reports that he has a long criminal history, including convictions for drug trafficking, mischief, and obstruction.