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Autoroute Dufferin-Montmorency to get speed camera

Ruby Pratka, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

A high-risk intersection in Beauport will have a functioning traffic enforcement camera within the next two weeks, nearly a year and a half after four members of a local family were killed in a collision.

On Sept. 2, 2021, Quebec City resident Shellie Fletcher- Lemieux, 44, and her father James Fletcher, 68, were killed when their car was rear-ended by a speeding drunk driver at the intersection of Autoroute Dufferin-Montmorency and Boul. François-de-Laval. Fletcher-Lemieux’s son Jackson Fortin, 14, and daughter Emma Lemieux, 10, suffered catastrophic injuries and died the next day in hospital. The force of the impact jolted the car forward, plowing into other cars and injuring two other people.

Driver Éric Légaré, who caused the crash, was not seriously hurt; he pled guilty to dangerous driving causing death and driving under the influence and was sentenced to 16 years in prison in April 2022.

Coroner Donald Nicole was mandated to investigate the deaths of Fletcher- Lemieux, her father and her children, and his reports were released in December 2022. In the reports, Nicole emphasized the fact that Légaré was under the influence of alcohol and cannabis at the time of the crash. According to the report, a number of witnesses saw Légaré drive away from a Quebec City bar while visibly drunk, and only one called police.

“All of the information collected demonstrates that [James] Fletcher’s death resulted from a high-velocity collision between the … vehicle in which he was riding and a vehicle driven by a person impaired by alcohol and cannabis,” Nicole wrote. “However, the configuration of this road sector where the accident occurred seems problematic because of observed speeds above the permitted limit. … The 70 km/h zone in this sector does not seem to be respected.” Before the collision, several road safety groups had also raised concerns about cars speeding through the intersection.

According to the coroner’s reports, speeding was involved in 32 per cent of deaths of people using the province’s road network between 2015 and 2019. “It is known that speed is largely dependent on the layout of roads or streets, according to [the scientific] literature. Among the measures recognized as the most effective in reducing speed are those which act on the physical environment and which force motorists to slow down,” Nicole wrote.

On Jan. 17, Radio-Canada reported that the ministerial decree mandating the placement of a camera facing east on Autoroute Dufferin- Montmorency at the height of Boul. François-de-Laval was published in the Gazette officielle du Québec. The camera should be operational within 15 days after the publication of the decree – no later than Feb. 2. Shortly before the activation of the round-the-clock camera, “signs indicating the presence of a camera will be uncovered and signs with other mes- sages will also warn people using the road,” transport ministry spokesperson Nicolas Vigneault told the public broadcaster. Fines for drivers caught speeding range from $15 for exceeding the speed limit by a few kilometres per hour to over $2,900 for repeat excessive speeding.

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