A young RCMP constable in British Columbia whose father and twin brother are also Mounties has been killed on duty, drawing condolences from across the country and praise from his superiors, who called him an "outstanding" officer.
Constable Adrian Oliver, 28, who was born in B.C. and grew up in New Brunswick and Ottawa, died early Tuesday morning in Surrey in a traffic accident. Police say he was on shift and returning to the Surrey RCMP detachment around 5 a.m. when his unmarked police car collided with a large semi-trailer truck at an intersection in the city's Newton neighbourhood.
Emergency responders freed the unconscious officer from the vehicle and transported him to hospital, but he did not survive his injuries. The cause of the crash is not yet known.
Constable Oliver's father, Chief Superintendent Joe Oliver, joined the RCMP in 1986, working in various areas, including property offences and violent crimes. He currently serves in Ottawa as the director-general of border integrity for the RCMP's federal and international operations. Constable Oliver's twin brother, Ben, is an RCMP officer in B.C.'s Lower Mainland.
The twins often ran and played sports together. Constable Oliver is also survived by his mother and younger brother.
Joe Oliver and other members of the family travelled to B.C. Tuesday.
Those who knew the family say it was clear from the time the twins were young that they would follow in their father's footsteps. In December, 2008, Adrian Oliver began cadet training. He became a constable in June, 2009.
"He showcased all the skills, dedication and commitment we ask for in our members," Deputy Commissioner Craig Callens, commanding officer of the B.C. RCMP, said at a sombre news conference in Surrey Tuesday. "Constable Oliver was a valued member of C Watch at [the] Surrey detachment and he will be sadly missed."
Chief Superintendent Bill Fordy, the officer in charge of the Surrey detachment, called Constable Oliver "an outstanding police officer, with a great attitude and commitment to serve others."
Flags flew at half-mast at RCMP detachments and at the Justice Institute of B.C.
Federal Safety Minister Vic Toews issued condolences to the officer's friends, colleagues and family on behalf of the government of Canada.
"His family has a long tradition of service to the RCMP and this loss will be felt by many," he said in a statement. "This is a very sad day for all Canadians. The death of a police officer in the line of duty reminds us of the devotion and sacrifice of those who serve each day to keep us safe."
B.C. Justice Minister Shirley Bond said Tuesday she was saddened to learn of Constable Oliver's death, adding "our community is diminished today because of it."
Darrell Walker, the operations manager of recycling company Emterra Environmental, which is near the crash site, said it was clear from the tangled wreck of the grey police cruiser that the officer would not have survived.
"The engine was sticking right out," he said. "It was a mess."
The driver of the truck, which was not hauling a trailer, was not injured. The Vancouver Police Department is providing oversight in the RCMP investigation .
The last Mountie to die on duty in Surrey was Constable John Baldwinson, who was killed in a crash in October, 1975.
With a report from the Canadian Press