Officer killed in 401 crash

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CHATHAM, Ont. – Sergeant Margaret Eve, 38, a 14-year Ontario Provincial Police veteran and a mother of two, became the first female OPP officer killed in the line of duty following a crash last month along Hwy. 401 near Chatham, Ont. She died in hospital of massive head injuries two days following the accident, which also injured two other OPP officers and three motorists.

At the time of the accident, Eve was among a group of officers who had parked their cruisers on the shoulder of the highway to investigate a suspected stolen car. A truck driven by Terry DeMerchant, 26, of Quebec, slammed into the parked police cars, propelling them into the officers. DeMerchant faces one count of dangerous driving causing death and five counts each of criminal negligence causing bodily harm, dangerous driving causing bodily harm, and careless driving.

The accident occurred on a stretch of Hwy. 401 dubbed “carnage alley” on the opening day of a coroner’s inquest into a fiery crash that occurred on the same stretch on Labor Day weekend last year, killing eight motorists. Another OPP officer, Senior Const. James McFadden, was also killed on the highway on New Year’s Eve when he was struck by a car as he was writing a ticket at the side of the highway.

Eve’s death prompted Ontario Solicitor General David Tsubouchi to announce he would meet with provincial police and Transportation Ministry officials to try to find a solution to the high accident rate on Hwy. 401. n

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