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Close call: Capreol family hope public can help ID man who side-swiped them

Couple with two children in their vehicle narrowly avoided a head-on collision

A Capreol family is in shock days after being victims of a hit and run on May 29.

While no one was seriously injured in the crash, Andre Lafleche and his wife, Melissa Lavallee, along with two of their children, are still shaken up after a vehicle driving in the opposite direction crossed the centre line. 

Lafleche was driving, and he was able to veer to the side of the road, avoiding what could have been a catastrophic head-on collision, but not enough to avoid having the other vehicle essentially scrape its way down the driver's side of the couple's vehicle.

Lavallee said the driver of the other vehicle just backed up quickly and took off.

“We were going out to camp, and we were going around a bend, and the vehicle in the other lane didn't follow the turn whatsoever,” said Lavallee, who is still very emotional when talking about it. “I noticed the car was going really fast, and so we were kind of watching it, so my husband was able to jerk the steering wheel to the side. Had he not done that, it would have been a crazy head-on collision.”

They were driving northeast on Carpeol Lake Road towards Ella Lake Park. The crash happened around 5 p.m.

Their four-year-old daughter, Scarlett, and six-year-old son, Parker, were in the vehicle at the time. 

Immediately following the crash, neither Lavallee or Lafleche could find their cellphones. The first vehicle that stopped to help didn't have a cellphone. They flagged down someone else, but then the cellphone reception wasn't great and the call to 911 kept cutting in and out, Lavallee said.

An hour later, neither the cops nor an ambulance had arrived, so they called Andre's parents to pick them up, and they drove to the hospital.

“My daughter has bruises from the her carseat straps, and my son has bruises from the seatbelt (he's in a booster seat),” Lavallee said. “We're still a little sore. The photos of the van don't do the damage justice.”

Lafleche's sister posted on Facebook a photo of the smashed van. She was seeking information on the vehicle and the driver. She received a few tips, and they walked down a trail near the fire station. They found the vehicle there.

Once again, they called the police, who showed up around 10 p.m., Lavallee said.

Police located the owner of the vehicle, she said. One would assume it would be a clear-cut investigation from there, but here's where things get complicated. Lavellee said the owner told police he loaned his car to his friend, and that friend told him the vehicle had been stolen. However, the owner didn't report the car stolen more than an hour after the crash happened, Lavallee said.

The crash happened so fast, neither Lavallee or Lafleche managed to get a good look at the driver, but to get to where the vehicle was found, he'd have had to drive through a busy section of town, past two gas stations and a Tim Hortons. 

“We believe someone must have seen him,” she said. “He lives in Capreol, and we know someone must be able to help us get him.”

Police are seeking eyewitnesses that can help in identifying the driver of the suspect vehicle. 

The vehicle has since been removed from the area in which it was found.

Unfortunately, the couple wasn't able to get a physical description of the driver, but they hope someone who might know the man, or who might have seen the damaged vehicle driving in the area that night, will come forward.

If you have information, you can contact the police at 705-675-9171 or Crime Stoppers at 705-222-TIPS (8477).