News / Canada

Quebec minister's son released; charges still possible in alleged hit and run

MONTREAL — A son of Quebec Health Minister Gaetan Barrette has been released under a promise to appear after an alleged hit and run involving a cyclist in Montreal early Friday.

Geoffroy Barrette, 23, was questioned by police investigators for several hours before being allowed to go.

Police did not reveal the identity of the man but said he was taken into custody at 5 a.m. and freed about seven hours later.

Spokesman Daniel Lacoursiere says investigators will recommend two charges: hit and run causing bodily harm and reckless driving causing bodily harm.

Police say the accused's licence was valid, correcting earlier information it had been suspended.

The cyclist wasn't wearing a helmet and suffered serious head injuries, but is expected to survive.

Police tracked down the vehicle a few kilometres away after witnesses noted the plates on the vehicle.

Barrette's office issued a statement earlier Friday confirming his son was in police custody.

"I learned the news of my son's arrest when I woke up this morning," Barrette said. "I was shocked and my first thoughts were immediately for the victim and his family."

The elder Barrette said he'll stand by his son.

"My son, who I will accompany as any parent, will now have to answer for his actions," he said. 

Barrette, who retained the health portfolio in a recent Quebec cabinet shuffle, has represented the Montreal-area riding of La Piniere for the Liberals since 2014.

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