Cst. Roy John William KARWASKI – May 24, 1980

Reg. # 26522, Cst. Roy John William KARWASKI

May 24, 1980, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan      Age: 33 years

Cst. Roy John William KARWASKI was born on May 4, 1947 at Perry Sound, Ontario to Raymond and Mary of Byng Inlet, Ontario.  He had four siblings; brothers Donald Joseph and William Raymond; sisters, Carol Ann and Mary Lynn.  He attended Byng Inlet Public School and Parry Sound High School, Parry Sound, Ont.    He belonged to the Audubon Club and active in the sports of hockey, baseball, badminton, basketball and wrestling.  He acted as a fishing guide and worked with his father as a Commercial fisherman on Georgian Bay while growing up.  He joined the Force onApril 8, 1968 at North Bay, Ont Upon completion of Basic Recruit Training at Depot Division, Regina, Sask and ‘P’ Division, Penhold, Alta., he was posted to Saskatoon Detachment on October 22, 1968.  On January 17, 1969, he was transferred to Biggar, Saskatchewan where he performed Detachment and Highway Patrol Duties.

On October 3, 1970, he married Colleen Brenda BOUCHER at Britt, Ontario.

On June 7, 1972, a son, Stephen Dustin was born and on June 27, 1974, son, Timothy James was born in Saskatoon, Sask.

On May 30, 1975, he transferred to Carnduff, Saskatchewan.

On August 11, 1976, daughter, Wendy Anne was born in Regina, Sask.

On May 6, 1980, he transferred to Prince Albert Detachment.

Just after 1:00 AM, Saturday, May 4, 1980, an unmarked RCMP cruiser was racing north out of Prince Albert on Highway #2.  Three uniformed members were inside.  At the wheel was Cst. Wayne JOHNSTON.  Beside him in the right front seat was Cpl. G.A. PRAWDZIK.  Cst. KARWASKI was sitting the back seat behind the corporal with a shotgun at his side.  Because the policemen were responding to an emergency call for assistance, the cruiser was moving at high speed with its grill lights flashing.  Following right behind them was a marked RCMP cruiser containing other members from Prince Albert.  Both cars were answering a call from the Waskesiu Lake Detachment, which needed help capturing a suspect who had fired a gun at a passing motorist near Prince Albert National Park.  As they sped along in the light traffic of early morning, Cst. JOHNSTON pulled the cruiser out into the left lane to pass a civilian vehicle.  Just as he got ahead of the car he was passing, a Cougar coupe, driven by a woman named Beatrice Bird, came roaring across the highway from a side road on JOHNSTON’s right.  She had run through a stop sign at high speed and her car crossed onto the highway so quickly that JOHNSTON barely had time to touch the brakes.  The RCMP cruiser slammed broadside into the Cougar with devastating impact.  Those who stopped to help found a scene of appalling destruction.  Beatrice Bird was dead behind the wheel as was one of her passengers, Allan Keshane, who was sitting in the back seat.  Edwin Lafond, who had been riding in the front passenger seat, was alive, but badly injured.  It was later determined that all three of them had been under the influence of alcohol.

In the police cruiser, Cst. JOHNSON and Cpl. PRAWDZIK were badly banged up, but Cst. KARWASKI, in the back seat, was gravely injured.  Although he was wearing a seat belt, he had taken a severe blow to the right lower abdomen from the shotgun that had been at his side.  Upon impact, one end of the gun had jammed into the floor and the other end had rammed into the lower part of his stomach.  KARWASKI was rushed to Holy Family Hospital in Prince Albert, but his injuries were so severe that he died about an hour after arriving there.  His death was caused by a ruptured spleen, a ruptured liver and torn intestines, which had brought on massive bleeding.  The coroner’s report stated, “The main injury was probably due to the gun he was holding during the two car collision.”

A funeral was held at St. Joseph’s Church in Prince Albert on May 27 1980.

KARWASKI was an active young man who had many interests.  He particularly enjoyed playing sports.  He was also a strong family man, survived by his wife, Colleen, and their three children, Stephen (8), Timothy (6) and Wendy (4).  Cst. KARWASKI was interred at Holy Family Cemetery at Britt, Ontario on May 29, 1980.

(Personnel File reviewed.  Photo available)