The discovery of a dead man in the middle of Poundmaker Road near Sir Winston Churchill Avenue shocked many people in the community.
The tragic and unsettling event is rare in St. Albert. There are many unanswered questions that make the situation even more troubling for some people.
Some of our citizens were confronted with this directly. The body was visible plain-as-day in the middle of the road. Nearby resident Dennis Birkholtz thought RCMP should have covered the body.
“Had they put something around the body it would have been to me the proper thing to do,” Birkholtz said.
RCMP have a job to do and that includes photographing the scene. The police also made use of a drone to get additional information for the investigation.
However, the original call came in before 5:30 in the morning and the body was still visible three hours later. The body wasn’t removed until after 9 a.m. and although traffic was not allowed on that section of Poundmaker Road, traffic was able to pass on Sir Winston Churchill. Since the body was close to the intersection, anyone passing had full view of the body, uncovered.
With several RCMP vehicles nearby, it was a scene that attracted attention and many people were confronted with an awful scene: a dead body, face down in the middle of the road. People on their way to work saw the body. Children on their way to school saw the body. Imagine if you were a relative of this deceased young man and saw that scene.
Given the nature of this sudden death, it is understandable that the RCMP would need to get plenty of images of the scene, but why allow people near the area at all? It may be frustrating for morning commuters, but surely we can all understand the need to close an area to investigate a death.
Closing off a section of Sir Winston Churchill/Sturgeon Road would have prevented the public from seeing the scene while RCMP officers completed their investigation. Failing this, steps could’ve been taken to better conceal the scene with a tent or other means or to cover the body. Not only for the sake of the passing public (including school children) but also for the dignity of the deceased.
Roads are closed all the time for car accidents, especially fatal ones. We understand the need to investigate a fatality, especially one where the cause of death is not immediately apparent and could be suspicious.
All steps should be taken to keep the public away from viewing a scene where someone has died. That didn’t happen on Wednesday. Hopefully in the future steps will be taken to protect citizens from such a disturbing image, for their sake and for the sake of the dead man’s family.