A cross made of a two-by-four and flowers laid on the ground are the only clues that cyclist Guy Blouin died after being run over by a Quebec City police cruiser yesterday.
The 48-year-old man was hit around 1 p.m. ET Wednesday at the corner of St-François East and Du Parvis streets. He died in hospital several hours later.
Witnesses to the incident said Blouin was biking the wrong way down the street when a police car moved to intercept him. They said they saw the cruiser back up over the cyclist.
“They ran over the guy, the guy ended up under the car. For an entire 15 seconds; he was under the tire in a fetal position,” Alexandre Beaulieu told Radio-Canada.
Because the case involves local police, the provincial police, SûretéduQuébec, was called in to investigate.
The Quebec City police department issued a statement late Thursday morning saying the force and the officers involved are co-operating with the SQ’s investigation.
Beaulieu said he saw the officers get out of the car, saw the man caught under the wheels, then get back into the patrol car and roll over the victim a second time. Other witnesses corroborated his account.
Another witness, who gave his name as Daniel, said he heard police tell the cyclist that he was under arrest. “He was spitting blood,” the witness said.
Another witness said officers helped Blouin to his feet and put him in the ambulance without putting him on a stretcher first.
Paramedic supervisor Jean-François Roy said the man’s condition worsened during the ride to l’Enfant Jésus Hospital.
Provincial police investigate
Sgt. Ann Mathieu of the SQ would not confirm the witness accounts, but said that investigators are considering them as possible hypotheses.
Provincial police will also look into the fact that the patrol car and the bicycle were moved from the scene.
The officers under investigation picked up the bike and put it in the trunk of their car, and later put it back at the scene.
Mathieu said the officers involved and as many witnesses as possible will be interviewed by investigators.
The witnesses Radio-Canada spoke to had seen the man in the neighbourhood before, but did not know him.
Quebec City residents hold vigil
More than 200 people gathered in front of St-Roch Church in downtown Quebec City at 5 p.m. to hold a vigil in honour of Guy Blouin.
The crowd of adults, children and cyclists held a minute of silence on the church steps and sang a song in his memory.
A book of condolences was also set up for his family.
Some demonstrators at the vigil handed out flyers that read: Thieves: Police are stealing lives.
No police officers were present at the vigil, which remained peaceful.
Another vigil is scheduled for Friday at 1 p.m. — 48 hours after the incident happened.