A coroner’s report released on Friday concluded that Vanessa Empsall, 20, may have fallen asleep at the wheel in the early morning hours of June 10, causing her car to veer off de l’Anse à l’Orme Rd. in Kirkland and strike a tree. Hospital staff registered Empsall’s blood-alcohol level at .098 when she was admitted shortly after 6:30 a.m. The legal limit for most drivers in Quebec is 0.08, but as of last spring, drivers under 22 years of age are not permitted to have any alcohol in their system before getting behind the wheel.
Empsall died a few hours after being taken to hospital, succumbing to multiple head injuries. Her passenger, 22-year-old Jean Désir Fils Milfort, was pronounced dead at the scene. Neither was wearing a seatbelt, and the coroner concluded that Empsall had not attempted to brake before the impact with the tree.
“The victims were on their way home, tired after an outing to the bars downtown,” the report reads. “The accident occurred on a dark, unlit stretch of road near a curve.”
Milfort was a 6-foot-3 lineman training for his first season with the Concordia Stingers. Empsall had just landed a new job she hoped would help get her into marketing.