Society

'We Were Just In Shock': Veteran Participating In Funeral Procession Gets Pulled Over In Canada

| by Jared Keever

A Canadian veteran says she is still shocked that a Victoria police officer wrote her a traffic citation while she was taking part in a funeral procession for a fellow soldier on Remembrance Day.

Remembrance Day coincides with Veterans Day in the U.S. and is the day Canadians set aside to honor those who served in the armed forces.

Debbi Ferguson was pulled over that day by a Victoria police officer and written a $230 ticket for having an obscured license plate. At the time, Ferguson was using her car to escort the body of Pvt. Steve Allen from a nearby airport to a funeral home. 

News of Allen’s Nov. 6 death at an Alberta training camp shocked and saddened Canadians. Allen was reportedly participating in a training exercise when a “tactical structure” collapsed while he was inside of it. He was airlifted to a nearby hospital where he died of his injuries. Another soldier sustained minor injuries in the accident, according to CTV News

Ferguson told CBC News that when she first saw the flashing lights of the officer’s car, she thought he was going to join the procession. 

“That didn't happen,” she said. “He shouted out on his microphone to pull over immediately. We were just in shock.

“We were already in an emotional state and it was Remembrance Day,” Ferguson added. “It's hard on all of us veterans and soldiers that a fellow man at arms would pull me over and pull me out of this escort.”

It is unclear exactly how Ferguson’s license was obscured, but she said it was obvious that she was taking part in the honorary escort, with a flag on her car and her hazard lights blinking. 

“I looked at him and I'm like I am sorry this is most disrespectful thing I have seen anyone do,” she said. 

A representative from the Victoria Police Department characterized the incident as “regrettable” in a statement.

“We recognize that this report of a ticket being issued to fellow community members volunteering their time to see a compatriot home is regrettable,” the statement read. “This is especially true on a day when many members of our community, including many VicPD officers, were paying our own respects to the fallen.”

There was no word on whether Ferguson will still be responsible for the fine associated with the ticket.

Sources: CTV News, CBC News / Photo Credit: CBC courtesy of Canadian Department of National Defense, Frank/Flickr