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Cop accused in fatal hit-and-run ‘should have known better’

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It’s been almost 35 years since a drunk driver killed Harvey Pollock’s son, but the Winnipeg father says he was taken back instantly to the tragedy when he heard an off-duty police officer had been charged Tuesday with impaired driving causing death.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/10/2017 (1880 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

It’s been almost 35 years since a drunk driver killed Harvey Pollock’s son, but the Winnipeg father says he was taken back instantly to the tragedy when he heard an off-duty police officer had been charged Tuesday with impaired driving causing death.

Nathan was 22 when an impaired driver being chased by police went through a red light and struck his car.

The tragedy caused Pollock, his late wife and Nathan’s brother, Martin, to become advocates against drunk driving. Their efforts helped make Manitoba laws tougher.

Phil Hossack / Winnipeg Free Press Files The recent news of an alleged drunk-driving death in Winnipeg saddened lawyer Harvey Pollock, who vividly remembers losing his own son to a drunk driver 35 years ago.

Pollock wonders why people are still being killed by drunk drivers.

“You look at the carnage still going on and you say to yourself, ‘What the heck? What’s happening?’” Pollock said Friday.

“Nothing has changed. People are still only thinking of themselves. They don’t think of the heartbreak they are causing because of their selfishness.”

Cody Severight, 23, was killed Tuesday evening while he was crossing Main Street near Sutherland Avenue in front of the Sutherland Hotel.

Justin Holz, an off-duty Winnipeg police officer, has been charged with impaired driving causing death and failing to stay at the scene of a collision. He was arrested at Main Street and Red River Boulevard.

Pollock said the fact the accused is a police officer makes it worse.

“He should have known better,” the longtime lawyer said. “His duty is greater than (that of) an average citizen. He has probably stopped people many times who have been drunk driving… He hasn’t been convicted, but if he is, he should be sentenced according to his duty and knowledge.

“He was taught to enforce the law and not break the law.”

Denise Elias, president of the Winnipeg chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, also expressed condolences to Severight’s family.

“There are so many good dedicated police officers,” Elias said. “They are dedicated to get these drivers off the road.

“It is disappointing. It is hurtful. It goes deep. These are the people we trust to uphold the law. He will have to bear the cost of what he’s done.”

MADD is pushing for lowering the legal driving limit to .05 from the current .08.

“There isn’t anybody safe from an impaired driver,” she said. “Not even the driver themselves.

“It is a preventable crime.”

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

Kevin Rollason

Kevin Rollason
Reporter

Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.

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Updated on Saturday, October 14, 2017 8:10 AM CDT: Comments turned off.

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