Second SQ officer relieved of duty after Highway 13 crisis

A second officer from the Sûreté du Québec was relieved of his duties because of the fiasco that occurred during the snow storm on Tuesday on Highway 13 in Montreal, the police said Sunday.

The officer in charge was responsible for managing operations on Highway 13.

Two officers - a lieutenant and a captain - have been punished since the storm. Both were reassigned to administrative duties while the SQ's internal investigation continued.

On Thursday, the SQ reported that the officer in charge of ordering the bottling operations on Highway 13 South had been relieved of his duties.

The SQ instituted an internal investigation into the management of the police intervention and the decision-making process. She acknowledged last week that "the axis of intervention should have been changed earlier in order to carry out an evacuation, considering all the circumstances, including the state of road conditions".

The internal investigation is continuing and in its conclusion managers who would be at fault could face disciplinary sanctions, added the SQ.

On Saturday, police arrested a man suspected of being one of two truck drivers who "refused to cooperate during a tow operation on the highway, thus hampering traffic already greatly affected by road conditions during the storm" .

The Quebec government also triggered an external investigation to understand what could have happened to generate such a number of failures observed in the different chains of command. The investigation was entrusted to Florent Gagné, a former deputy minister of Transport. His report could be presented in a parliamentary committee.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Transport announced that Anne-Marie Leclerc, the Department of Transport's civil protection officer, has been relieved of her duties.

An administrative investigation will be conducted in parallel with the Ministry of Transport regarding the role played by the subcontractor responsible for maintaining Highway 13.