Three boys killed by alleged drunk driver

The Canadian Press

NELSON HOUSE, Man.–A northern Manitoba community is grieving after three young boys were struck and killed by an alleged drunk driver who fled the scene Saturday night.
A 13-year-old and two 11-year-olds were on Provincial Road 620, two km north of Nelson House, when they were hit by a vehicle with five people in it around 10:30 p.m., RCMP said.
Chief Marcel Moody of Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation said the community is mourning the loss of Mateo Moore-Spence and Terrence Spence, both 11, and Keithan Lobster, who was 13.
He described the boys as good kids who liked to have fun and often played at his home with his grandchildren.
Investigators said two of the children were walking while one was riding a bike on the road at the time.
The children died at the scene and when officers arrived, they found the vehicle empty.
“There was no driver or occupants at the time as they had fled the scene,” said RCMP spokesman Sgt. Paul Menaigre.
“Within a short period of time, the four occupants returned back to the scene and provided information back to police about who the driver was, as he had fled on foot.
“I guess they went after him but he took off.”
Information spread quickly through the community and by midnight, the driver walked into the Nelson House RCMP detachment and turned himself over to two officers, who were on their way to continue looking for him.
The alleged driver, who is a 27-year-old member of the Nelson House community, was arrested without incident and remains in police custody.
“He’ll be facing numerous charges, including fleeing the scene of an accident and numerous impaired driving-related charges,” Menaigre said.
“We’ve conducted tests and determined he was impaired by alcohol.”
Menaigre expected charges would be laid by today.
He said in situations like this, the community is likely to feel shock, anger, and grief.
“Alcohol is involved, it could have easily been prevented,” Menaigre noted. “So there could be anger in the community because we’re at the stage of not understanding ‘why’–that’s the anger part–and then eventually there’s the grieving process.
“We want to get as much information as we can figured out quickly so they can begin that process,” he noted.
Grand Chief Sheila North of the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, a political advocacy organization, said several staff members from Nelson House are grieving.
“Everyone knows each other and it’s a growing, prospering community,” North said of the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation, which is based in Nelson House.
“They’re very heartbroken and shocked.
“I talked to the [Nisichawayasihk] Chief Marcel Moody, as well,” she noted. “He says the whole community is deeply saddened and in complete shock that the boys have succumbed to this kind of tragedy.”
Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, sent condolences to members of the community yesterday.
“My heart goes out to the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation and the families of three young boys tragically killed last night while out for a bike ride,” Bellegarde wrote on Twitter.
“Extending love and support to all who knew them,”
Others also tweeted their support for the community.
“Our hearts go out to the families of three young boys who left us far too soon,” posted Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister.
“To the entire community of Nelson House and NCN, we mourn this heartbreaking loss with you.”