RCMP Cst. James Alexander Kerr

RCMP Cst. James Alexander Kerr, 20

All Simon Leveille felt was a firm thump to the right front of his car. He didn’t think that he’s hit anything on the highway – certainly not a human being. The native of St. Quentin, New Brunswick had been driving along the Trans Canada Highway two and a half miles west of the Village of St. Anne de Madawaska. It was a bitterly cold Wednesday night, but the road was straight and dry. At 7:30 pm as his car approached the bright lights of the New Moon Restaurant, Leveille could see some headlights and a small red light flashing up ahead at the side of the road. Then he was momentarily blinded by the high beams of an oncoming vehicle. After that, he felt the thump to the front fender. It was a strong enough bump to make him stop and see what he had hit. When he got out of his car to check, he discovered to this horror that it was a policeman.

It took a while for Mr. Leveille to figure everything out, but eventually he was able to piece it all together. He learned that earlier that day, at 5:40 pm, a woman named Maxine Devost had been hit and killed crossing the highway at this same place. The RCMP had been called and the fatally injured woman had just recently been removed from the scene by ambulance. The police were busily occupied in the process of completing their investigation. Although their cruisers had their headlights on the red four-way flashers had not been engaged. Only one car was showing a flashing red light – a portable “fireball” that had been placed on the roof. That was the scene on the highway as Simon Leveille approached.

Leveille learned that one of the policemen checking out the accident and making notes as a young officer from the St. Leonard Detachment by the name of St. Kerr. He was crossing the road towards on the police cars with is back to the traffic and had almost made it across, when Leveille hit him.

His premature death was deplorable. Cst. Kerr was not yet 21 years of age and his 21 years of age and his brief career with the RCMP had lasted barely 16 months. Funeral services were held in his birthplace of Ridgetown, Ontario. He is buried at the cemetery in Duart, Ontario, near the home of his grieving parents.

IN THE LINE OF DUTY – The Honour Roll of the RCMP since 1873