Lindsey Gauthier was a successful Realtor who was loved by many people in Chilliwack, including his wife Angela.
But his unshakable addiction to cocaine led him to both celebrate good news and deal with bad news by going on drug-addled binges that could last days.
That’s according to Angela’s testimony on day one of the the BC Coroners Service inquest into Lindsey’s death after a series of incidents that culminated in his arrest by RCMP officers on Yale Road east of Five Corners on April 6, 2016.
“He was a very successful man,” Angela told the inquest. “He was loved by a lot of people.”
While he had been addicted to cocaine for several years, it was in the year leading up to his death that he started using cocaine less replacing the drug with more readily accessible amphetmines.
And while he was described by everyone who knew him as gentle and friendly, he also suffered from psychotic episodes.
“Sometimes he thought people were coming through the TVs, the computers, they were listening to him,” Angela said. “That led him to destroy many of our computers, our TVs. He put holes in the walls because he thought wires were in there.”
The 45-year-old did go through recovery and tried hard to get better, Angela testified. But on the morning of his death, Lindsey had been up for five straight days. He had broken into a house scaring an older couple, claiming he was being chased.
Sweating profusely, and clearly in need of medical attention, according to an RCMP officer at the scene of the break and enter, he was taken to Chilliwack General Hospital (CGH).
He was released at about 5:30 a.m. on the day of his death. He called Angela who was staying with a friend, asked to come get keys to their apartment. He did that, and that was the last time Angela saw him.
“My last words to my husband were ‘Go home and go to bed and we’ll talk tomorrow.”
Lindsey later got in an altercation at the Uptown Grill at which time Griffin Security and then police were called.
On day two of the inquest, Downtown Chilliwack Business Improvement Association employee Harold Zinke testified. Zinke is a street cleaner who had stopped into the restaurant for his morning coffee before work.
Zinke said the police were telling Lindsey to come out of the restaurant “for a while” but he wouldn’t. Eventually Zinke was pulled outside by Lindsey knocking him to the ground.
“I wasn’t hurt,” Zinke said. He later told The Progress that Lindsey was sweating profusely.
A Griffin Security guard also said Lindsey grabbed him, but not in a way as if he was trying to hurt him.
“He wasn’t attacking me. He was asking for help, asking for the cops.”
The inquest was also shown an image from a security camera with two officers who appear to be kneeling on Lindsey’s back putting handcuffs on him.
Tuesday (Feb. 2) saw four more witnesses in the afternoon, including two on-air hosts from 89.5 The Drive, Sadie Hesketh and Glen Slingerland who saw at least some of what happened, Hesketh from her studio window.
Wednesday morning the hearing was scheduled to hear from three RCMP officers, and in the afternoon three medical doctors were lined up to testify, including Dr. Marc Greidanus, an emergency room physician at CGH.
The five-day inquest is being held at the Burnaby Coroners’ Court and is being live streamed online, with a link available through the Coroners Service Inquests webpage.
Inquests are mandatory for any death that occurs while a person was detained by or in the custody of a peace officer, as Gauthier was when he died.
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