BY DANIELLE BELL & KELLY ROCHE
Police are mourning the loss of one of their own, after an Ottawa officer was killed in a head-on crash while on his way to work Sunday.
Ottawa police Const. Mike Robillard, 32, never made it to start his shift.
He leaves behind his wife and one child.
Robillard was killed shortly after 3:30 p.m. in a crash along 8th Line Rd., near Metcalfe, that sent two others to hospital.
“It’s a sad day for the Ottawa Police Service,” Chief Charles Bordeleau told the Sun. “He was a dedicated officer, husband, father and son.”
Robillard had been with the force for four years, after coming from the Cornwall Police Service.
He was part of the same platoon as Const. Eric Czapnik, 51, who was stabbed to death while sitting in his cruiser outside the Civic hospital in Dec. 2009.
It was his platoon that showed up to Sunday’s crash.
Robillard was alone in his Honda Civic that collided with a Dodge Caravan just south of Parkway Rd. The road crests at a hill near where the crash took place.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
A mother and her seven-year-old daughter were in the van. Bystanders helped firefighters get the little girl out, who was taken to CHEO.
The violence of the impact of the crash was shocking.
“Oh my God, there’s no engine on both of them,” said a witness at the scene, Stephane, who didn’t want his last name published. “The way the cars were mangled.”
He said he drove up on the scene, the third vehicle to arrive, and someone had already called 911.
“I was just there when the cars were spewing smoke,” he said. “Not knowing CPR, I was just going to go by, but my son wanted me to stop.”
A volunteer firefighter arrived next.
“He checked on the gentleman, but it was too late,” said Stephane.
Ottawa Fire had to cut the mother from the van. The girl was shaken up, but otherwise OK. Witnesses tried to free the woman, whose legs were pinned.
“She was still talking. She was like, ‘My legs hurt,’ ” said Stephane.
“The little girl left first on the stretcher, and then the mom,” he said, adding the van had hockey equipment and produce was strewn outside.
The intersection is on a hill, said Stephane, noting there’s a sign for a hidden driveway.
Robillard was remembered as a knowledgeable and dedicated officer in a commendation letter from a member of the public last year, who went on a ride-along with him.
“I was thoroughly impressed with the professionalism and knowledge Const. Robillard demonstrated throughout the shift,” read an excerpt. “As someone who aspires to become a police officer, I have participated in various ride-alongs with other agencies.
“It is with no comparison, that this was the most informative and beneficial experience I have had to date as a ride-along … I am even more motivated to work towards my goal of being hired as a police officer.”