SIU Clears Officer After Four Injured In Collision
(Bradford, ON) The province’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has cleared a South Simcoe Police Service officer of any wrongdoing in a police chase that preceded a collision in which four people suffered serious injuries.
On July 24, 2018, a pickup truck and an SUV were involved in a collision in the area of Highway 88 and 10 Sideroad, resulting in serious injuries to the pickup truck driver and three SUV occupants. Just prior to the collision, a South Simcoe Police Service officer was in pursuit of the SUV. The occupants of the SUV had been involved in a theft at the Tanger Outlet Mall on Highway 89 and Highway 400.
The Interim Director of the Special Investigations Unit, Joseph Martino, determined there are no reasonable grounds to lay criminal charges against the subject officer (SO) in this case.
“I am satisfied that the SO’s conduct fell within the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law,” Martino said.
In his report, Martino said the events in question were clear based on evidence collected by the SIU which included statements from the occupants of the two vehicles involved in the collision, civilian eyewitnesses who observed different parts of the police pursuit, a dash cam video recording of segments of the pursuit, data downloaded from the SO’s cruiser relating to his locations and speeds and police radio communications.
“Though the officer exceeded the speed limit at points, travelling as fast as 110 km/h south on 10 Sideroad and 119 km/h west on Highway 88, he was engaged in the execution of his duties and therefore exempt from the speed limits (60 km/h and 80 km/h, respectively) pursuant to section 128(13) of the Highway Traffic Act,” Martino concluded, adding, “It is important to note that there is no evidence that other drivers were threatened by the manner in which the cruiser was operated, nor was it the case that the SO’s average speeds were grossly in excess of the speed limits.
Martino determined the officer had grounds to initiate the pursuit because police had information that the SUV’s occupants had committed thefts from the Tanger Outlets.
“He (the officer) did so over a relatively short distance of about 4 kilometres during which he had his emergency lights activated, maintained a safe distance from the SUV throughout, and updated the police communications centre with respect to his location, speeds and the behaviour of the SUV. Turning west onto Highway 88, with the roads wet, heavy rain falling and visibility poor, the decision was made, reasonably in my view, to discontinue the pursuit. Regrettably, the SUV continued its flight and caused a collision with an uninvolved motorist.”
South Simcoe Police Service is satisfied at the outcome of this investigation which confirms the officer acted appropriately.
The Police Service will now complete their Section 11 review which is standard procedure under the Police Services Act.
The full SIU report can be found at www.siu.on.ca.