Kamloops RCMP identified two vehicles it initially thought were involved in a hit-and-run that killed a 48-year-old man in downtown Kamloops. Neither was involved, but Mounties believed occupants of the blue car may have witnessed something. Submitted.

Mounties not at fault after B.C. man killed hours after jail release

Man killed in hit and run had been released from Kamloops RCMP cells 5.5 hours earlier

  • Nov. 1, 2018 3:00 p.m.

Kamloops This Week

The man killed in a hit and run in downtown Kamloops in the early-morning hours of Oct. 20 had been released from RCMP custody 5.5 hours earlier, a fact that led to his death being investigated by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C.

On Thursday, the IIO issued its report into the death of 48-year-old Frank McDermott, finding no fault with Mounties in connection with McDermott’s death.

(The IIO does not mention McDermott by name. KTW has confirmed his identify with multiple sources.)

McDermott was arrested in Kamloops on Oct. 19 at 11:24 a.m. on an alcohol-related offence. McDermott was held in the Battle Street detachment’s cells until 8:08 p.m., when officers determined he was fit for release.

Five-and-a-half hours later, at 1:37 a.m., police were called to Seymour Street near First Avenue, where it appeared McDermott had been hit by a vehicle. He was taken to Royal Inland Hospital, where he died from his injuries.

Due to McDermott’s interaction with police shortly before his death, the Kamloops RCMP notified the IIO at 2:20 a.m. and an investigation was launched.

“The objective of the IIO investigation is to determine if an officer, through an action or inaction, may have committed any offence in relation to the incident that led to [McDermott’s] death,” IIO chief civilian director Ronald J. MacDonald wrote in his report.

“The information from police indicated that [McDermott] was fit when he was released. A review of the CCTV (custody closed-circuit television) showed [McDermott] as he was released from cells. his behaviour and actions captured by the CCTV show a person who appears co-ordinated and sober,” MacDonald wrote.

“The recording also shows [McDermott] talking to officers and walking away from the detachment in a co-ordinated manner. In addition, [McDermott] was dressed appropriately for weather conditions.”

Related: Kamloops Mounties say differing vehicle descriptions part of ongoing probe into fatal hit and run

MacDonald noted McDermott was released nine hours after his arrest, which he said was ample time for McDermott to sober up. He also noted the collision that took McDermott’s life occurred more than five hours after he was released from custody.

“As a result, it is clear there is no causal link between the actions of the officers and the death of [McDermott],” MacDonald wrote. “Indeed, once [McDermott] was sober, it was their duty to release him from custody.”

In the days following McDermott’s death, an RCMP press release identified a silver-coloured Dodge Neon as the vehicle involved in the incident. On Oct. 25, police said the suspect vehicle was actually a blue sedan. This past Tuesday, a third press release said the blue sedan was no longer a suspect vehicle, but that its occupants may be witnesses to the collision.

Kamloops RCMP Cpl. Jodi Shelkie said investigators are not pleased with the way the story of the identification errors is unfolding in local media.

“I think it’s losing oomph because, perhaps, the media is portraying that — putting a slant on it that police have changed their story again,” she said. “The important thing to remember is that a man died. We’re trying to solve this.”

On Oct. 24, police seized a silver Neon that had been parked outside a house on Columbia Street. After the car was towed, its owner told KTW the vehicle had been parked on the street since the previous week and was not involved in the collision.

Though the blue sedan is no longer a suspect vehicle, Shelkie said investigators are still hoping to speak to its driver and occupants about what they might have seen.

“We’re looking at some video surveillance from different locations downtown,” she said. “From some locations, it doesn’t show a clear image of the suspect vehicle. We have the time that it happened.”

Investigators believe the collision took place at about 1:30 a.m. and Shelkie said they are hoping to speak with anyone who was in the area at the time.

“When investigating a crime, it isn’t always point A to point B,” she said. “New evidence leads us in new directions. The important thing to remember is we’re working to solve a hit-and-run fatality and we need the public’s help to do so.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

New Lake Country school sports fields to include track and field oval

School rec facilities to be developed on former Aspen Grove golf course

Freezing rain, some snow forecasted for Okanagan-Similkameen-Shuswap

Environment Canada forecasting freezing rain and snow for much of the region

Rockets stumble again, lose 6th straight to Moose Jaw Warriors

The Rockets will have to bounce back with weekend games against the top two teams in the league

UPDATE: Homeowners keep fire at bay in Oyama garage

Fire crews are reportedly on scene of a structure fire on Broadwater Road

Comedians to share laughs to help Kelowna school

Fundraiser begins effort to replace $20,000 stolen from South Rutland Elementary PAC

Music Rundown: Where you should be watching live music this week

Fill your calendar this week with these great shows

Study finds more than half of food produced in Canada wasted

The study released Thursday is the world’s first to measure food waste using data from industry and other sources instead of estimates

Snowed-in Austrian nuns insist they’re staying put

Authorities have deployed heavy equipment to clear snow and fallen trees blocking the road to the monastery

Chiasson nets shootout winner as Oilers edge Canucks 3-2

Edmonton moves one point ahead of Vancouver

B.C. chief says they didn’t give up rights for gas pipeline to be built

Hereditary chief: no elected band council or Crown authority has jurisdiction over Wet’suwet’en land

Thieves steal thousands from 140 Coast Capital Savings members

Online fraud tactics included phising and ‘brute force’ in November and December

Condo rental bans may be on way out with B.C. empty home tax

Many exemptions to tax, but annual declarations required

UPDATE: B.C. boy, aunt missing for three days

The pair are missing from Kamloops

Daredevil changes game plan to jump broken White Rock pier

Brooke Colby tells council daredevil event would help boost waterfront business

Most Read