In August, GM announced a safety recall of certain Chevrolet Impalas manufactured between 2008 and 2012. The recall was limited to police vehicles only. According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA) [PDF], the recall was issued because the lower control arm may fracture. A broken control arm can lead to loss of control of the vehicle, thereby increasing the risk of a crash.
Sgt. Benoit Richard, of the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), is quoted in the Toronto Sun
as saying that the vehicles were recalled for a "preventive inspection" and there was no need to take the Chevrolet Impalas off the road. The provincial police have 448 vehicles subject to the recall.
reports that since last Thursday, the day 23-year-old Katia Hadouchi lost her life, the SQ has taken about 100 of the recalled vehicles off the road. It is believed these are the vehicles that had not yet been inspected for the control arm problem.
Last Wednesday around 7 p.m., Hadouchi was alone in the cruiser about 80 kilometres north of Montreal when the accident occurred. She was rushing to pick up her partner after receiving a 911 call concerning a domestic dispute. The officer lost control of the car that ended up smashing into two trees.
Omer Gregoire, a mechanic who went to the scene, said he never saw anything like it in 50 years. He is quoted by CTV News
as saying, "The engine literally flew out of the car. We needed two tow trucks to haul away the wreckage."
Hadouchi was rushed to hospital in critical condition and died the next morning. She had been working out of the Matawinie office and had been a member of the SQ for about two years.
Speaking about Hadouchi, Richard was quoted by CTV News as saying, "Katia was a young woman that every time she came into the station she was always laughing and bright. She had a lot of fun with all of her colleagues, and everyone here is shattered by the fact she's gone."
The investigation into the accident has been taken over by the Montreal police and is continuing. It is not known whether the cruiser Hadouchi was driving had been examined after GM issued the safety recall.