Boozing leads to bizarre death in Kangiqsujuaq

Drunk driver takes van into bay, then drowns

By JANE GEORGE

The community of Kangiqsujuaq was stunned earlier this month by the death of a young man who drowned when his vehicle rolled into the bay.

At 3 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 6, the Kativik Regional Police received a call about a van which was under the water at the boat landing — and that there might be someone in the van.

An hour would pass before the truth of the call could be checked.

First, police had to physically fetch the firefighter on call and bring him to the fire station after efforts to rouse first responders and firefighters failed.

By 3:30 a.m. two first responders were at the scene, and they attempted to go out to the van by boat, but with no divers, they couldn’t do a rescue.

It wasn’t until 4 a.m. that police were able to locate two trained divers to go into the icy water. They didn’t see anyone in the van, so they attached a rope to it and the fire truck pulled it out.

The driver’s door was locked and the keys to the van were on the seat.

Steven Tertiluk, 23, was found under the back seat with no vital signs. As well, one half-empty 10-ounce bottle of vodka, another empty bottle and an 18-pack of empty beers were found in the van.

A witness, who had been with Steven that evening, said they had been drinking together and that he had been driving very fast and recklessly. When she said she wanted to drive or get out of the van, they argued.

After getting out of the van to have a smoke, Steven got back in the van and started towards the bay. She said she yelled for him to get out but he didn’t.

The van ended up in the water at about 2 a.m..

Police concluded that Steven’s death was due to the consumption of alcohol, which led to a series of events that caused his death by drowning.

Kangiqsujuaq banned alcohol last week, but ordering resumed this week.

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