Austin Eaglechief’s body found ‘crumpled’ in stolen truck, lead investigator testifies at inquest
A man involved in a police chase in June 2017 was found dead underneath the steering wheel of a stolen truck, the lead investigator of the case testified on Monday.
The inquest into the death of 22-year-old Austin Eaglechief began Monday. The purpose of an inquest is to avoid similar deaths from happening in the future.
Eaglechief died after crashing into another vehicle at Airport Drive and Circle Drive on June 19, 2017.
The driver, who was later identified as Eaglechief, “was found crumpled underneath steering wheel ... and appeared to have a head wound,” testified Saskatoon Police Service Det. Sgt. Kory Ochitwa, the lead investigator of the case.
Ochitwa said police on scene were unable to get Eaglechief out of the truck, and had to wait for firefighters — who used tools to remove Eaglechief. Meanwhile, a passenger in the truck was arrested.
The crash happened during a police chase. Officers and the Air Support Unit were pursuing the stolen truck, which was driving at high speeds and disobeying traffic rules in Saskatoon’s north end.
During the pursuit, the stolen truck rammed into a police cruiser in a cul-de-sac in the River Heights neighbourhood. Shots were fired at the stolen truck. An autopsy determined Eaglechief didn’t die from a gunshot wound.
Footage from the Air Support Unit showed the truck hit the police vehicle and sped off, running red lights and avoiding officers' efforts to stop it.
A forensic identification officer at the scene also testified. A shotgun, knife and bear spray were found in the truck, according to his photographs taken at the crash site.
Six jury members were selected during the inquest. An estimated 15 witnesses will testify at the inquest — including passengers of the stolen truck, a paramedic and other police officers.
The inquest is scheduled to wrap up later this week.