Watchdog investigating after 2 die in car crash following police chase in Montreal

Two people are dead after their vehicle crashed into a tree. Police believe they might be connected to two drive-by shootings that took place early Thursday morning.

Crash occurred after police abandoned pursuit, could be linked to overnight shootings

an SPVM car near a taped-off crime scene
Montreal police are investigating a car crash possibly linked to two drive-by shootings. (Mathieu Wagner/Radio-Canada)

Two men in their 20s died after their vehicle hit a tree in the Rosemont neighbourhood of Montreal Thursday morning. 

Montreal police believe the crash may be linked to two drive-by shootings earlier that morning.

The first happened around 5 a.m. on Pie-IX Boulevard. Police say a car was shot at repeatedly and the driver, a 41-year-old man, was injured in the upper body. He was transported to hospital and is expected to survive, say police.

That man provided police with a description of a vehicle, which police then located nearby.

The province's independent police watchdog, the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (BEI), is investigating because the incident resulted in loss of life and involved police. The BEI said in a news release that Montreal police officers pursued the car for a short time but then lost sight of it.

The car then hit a tree, injuring its occupants. One person was declared dead on the scene, the other died later dead in hospital. 

Several kilometres away and before the crash, shots had also been reported in the Plateau Mont-Royal borough, near the intersection of St-Joseph Boulevard and Henri-Julien Avenue. No one was injured. 

Police say they are investigating to determine if there is a connection between the collision and the shootings. Montreal police spokesperson Jean-Pierre Brabant says it's possible those in the vehicle were involved in the shootings.

Quebec provincial police, the SQ, are assisting the BEI in its investigation.

with files from Chloë Ranaldi