SIU Director’s Report - Case # 20-OVI-227
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Mandate of the SIU
Under the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU must determine based on the evidence gathered in an investigation whether an officer has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation. If, after an investigation, there are reasonable grounds to believe that an offence was committed, the Director has the authority to lay a criminal charge against the officer. Alternatively, in all cases where no reasonable grounds exist, the Director does not lay criminal charges but files a report with the Attorney General communicating the results of an investigation.
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“FIPPA”)Pursuant to section 14 of FIPPA (i.e., law enforcement), certain information may not be included in this report. This information may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Confidential investigative techniques and procedures used by law enforcement agencies; and
- Information whose release could reasonably be expected to interfere with a law enforcement matter or an investigation undertaken with a view to a law enforcement proceeding.
- Subject Officer name(s);
- Witness Officer name(s);
- Civilian Witness name(s);
- Location information;
- Witness statements and evidence gathered in the course of the investigation provided to the SIU in confidence; and
- Other identifiers which are likely to reveal personal information about individuals involved in the investigation.
Pursuant to PHIPA, any information related to the personal health of identifiable individuals is not included.
Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (“PHIPA”)
Other proceedings, processes, and investigationsInformation may have also been excluded from this report because its release could undermine the integrity of other proceedings involving the same incident, such as criminal proceedings, coroner’s inquests, other public proceedings and/or other law enforcement investigations.
“Serious injuries” shall include those that are likely to interfere with the health or comfort of the victim and are more than merely transient or trifling in nature and will include serious injury resulting from sexual assault. “Serious Injury” shall initially be presumed when the victim is admitted to hospital, suffers a fracture to a limb, rib or vertebrae or to the skull, suffers burns to a major portion of the body or loses any portion of the body or suffers loss of vision or hearing, or alleges sexual assault. Where a prolonged delay is likely before the seriousness of the injury can be assessed, the Unit should be notified so that it can monitor the situation and decide on the extent of its involvement.
This report relates to the SIU’s investigation into injuries that a 21-year-old man (“Complainant #1”) and 31-year-old woman (“Complainant #2”) suffered.
Notification of the SIUOn September 13, 2020, at 1:40 a.m., the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) notified the SIU of injuries to Complainant #1 and Complainant #2.
HRPS advised that at 12:19 a.m., HRPS police officers responded to a break and enter at a business on Main Street in Milton. The report had been called-in by citizens in a pickup truck. The suspect fled the scene in a Honda Fit, which was pursued for a short distance by an HRPS police officer, who discontinued the pursuit. The Honda Fit kept travelling at a high rate of speed and collided in the intersection of Regional Road 25 and Derry Road. The Honda Fit collided with the same pickup truck whose occupants had reported the break and enter. The driver of the Honda Fit, Complainant #1, was extricated from the vehicle and taken to the Hamilton General Hospital (HGH) where he was diagnosed with having sustained internal injuries and a fractured clavicle. A passenger in the pickup truck, and witness to the break and enter, was Complainant #2. Complainant #2 was transported to the Milton General Hospital (MGH), where she was diagnosed with minor injuries.
The TeamNumber of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 2
ComplainantsComplainant #1: 21-year-old male, declined interview and to provide medical records
Complainant #2 31-year-old female, interviewed and medical records obtained
Civilian Witnesses (CW)CW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Interviewed
CW #4 Interviewed
Witness Officer (WO)WO Interviewed, notes obtained and reviewed
Additionally, the notes from three other officers were received and reviewed.
Subject Officer (SO)SO Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject officer’s legal right
The SceneThe collision occurred in the intersection of Regional Road 25 and Derry Road, Milton.
On September 13, 2020, at 3:52 a.m., SIU Forensic Investigators attended the scene. At the scene were several police officers of the HRPS who had been given permission to conduct a parallel investigation. The scene had been properly secured and guarded by HRPS police officers.
Regional Road 25 travelled primarily in a northeast/southwest direction with Derry Road intersecting in a northwest/southeast direction (for the purposes of this report Regional Road 25 ran north/south and Derry Road ran east/west). The intersection was controlled by traffic signals that appeared to operate properly. Both road surfaces were in good repair and dry. Street markings were clear and visible. Street lighting was present at the intersection with all lighting illuminating the intersection.
Vehicle 1 was a Honda Fit, which was silver in colour with an Ontario licence plate. The Honda Fit was orientated southwest in the eastbound lanes of Derry Road. There was extensive collision damage to the entire vehicle. Vehicle 2 was a black Dodge Ram pickup with an Ontario licence plate. The Dodge Ram was orientated south along the south road edge of Derry Road south of the intersection. There was extensive collision damage to the entire vehicle but mostly on the driver’s side. Vehicle 3 was a copper-coloured Toyota Venza with an Ontario licence plate. This vehicle was orientated east in the centre eastbound lane of Derry Road north of the intersection. There was extensive front end collision damage to this vehicle. Vehicle 4 was an HRPS vehicle, which was a Ford Explorer, with an Ontario licence plate. The Ford Explorer was a marked police vehicle, which displayed graphics as designed by the HRPS. Emergency lighting was installed on this vehicle but not operating. The Ford Explorer was orientated west in the southwest quadrant of the intersection. There was no collision damage to this vehicle that could be attributed to this incident.
Tire marks, road gouges and fluid trails indicated that the initial area of impact happened in the northwest quadrant of the intersection then travelled southwest towards the area where vehicles 1, 2 and 3 were found.
At 4:15 a.m., the scene was mapped using a Total Station. The scene was also photographed.
Figure 1 – The Honda Fit
Figure 2 – The Dodge Ram
Figure 3 – The Toyota Venza
HRPS In-Car Camera System (ICCS) Video Report for September 13, 2020
At 00:00 on the timer, the SO’s police vehicle was stopped at a red traffic light on Nipissing Road at Thompson Road South. His police vehicle faced eastbound on Nipissing Road. At 00:05 minutes, the SO reversed his police vehicle approximately 6 metres and waited in a stopped position. A silver vehicle [now believed to be a silver Honda Fit] accelerated through the intersection, southbound on Thompson Road South. At 00:11 minutes, the SO turned southbound on Thompson Road and accelerated after the Honda. The SO activated his roof lights at 00:29 after he had been on Thompson Road for 18 seconds.
At 00:31 minutes, the SO advised his dispatcher that traffic was medium. He turned off his roof lights and stated he was not in pursuit. The Honda Fit could not be seen on Thompson Road South. The SO stated he was approaching Derry Road. He told the dispatcher the Honda Fit had turned westbound on Derry Road. The SO decelerated and approached the intersection of Thompson Road South and Derry Road on a red light. He turned westbound onto Derry Road at a slow, controlled speed. The SO continued westbound on Derry Road with his roof lights off.
Another radio transmission was heard and a police officer [believed to be the WO] stated he was “now following you (the SO)”. The SO accelerated westbound on Derry Road in the curb lane. The Honda was never seen. Traffic was light and the roadway was dry.
At 01:29 minutes, a police officer advised she was at Bronte and Derry Roads.
At 01:31 minutes, the SO activated his siren for two beeps as he drove through the intersection of Holly Road on a green light.
At 02:22 minutes, the SO approached the intersection of Derry Rd at Regional Road 25 at a controlled, slow speed. His police vehicle was in the most northerly curb lane. He activated his roof lights and maneuvered his police vehicle into the intersection. The collision had already occurred in the intersection.
The SO stopped his police vehicle at the southwest corner of the intersection adjacent to the damaged black Dodge Ram pickup truck. His police vehicle was parked at this location until the conclusion of this video. The SO exited his police vehicle and ran to the occupants of the Dodge. He spoke to both occupants. The SO advised the dispatcher he required additional police units to assist, along with ambulances and fire services to extricate a driver.
The SO remained on scene and directed his staff. At 07:00 minutes, the SO, off-camera, spoke with a police officer and stated, “He went past me doing a buck 60” (indicating a speed of 160 km/h). At 08:20 minutes, the SO stated he “lit him up”, and then discontinued the pursuit. At 11:30 minutes, the SO, off-camera, spoke with someone and uttered he [Complainant #1] went by me doing 160. At 36:36 minutes, the SO advised via his body microphone he was now turning his ICCS off.
The ICCS video in the WO’s police vehicle was not recorded in real time, and there was no audio. The video ran for 1:10:00 hours. At 00:00 minutes, the WO was westbound on Derry Road in the north curb lane. He followed an SUV police vehicle [now known to be the SO], which was also in the north curb lane. Neither vehicle had its roof lights activated. The roads were dry, and visibility was clear.
At 00:30 minutes, the SO’s police vehicle approached the intersection of Derry Road at Regional Road 25. He approached the intersection from the north curb lane. His roof lights were not activated. The SUV police vehicle entered the intersection and the roof lights were turned on. The WO followed the SUV and parked his police vehicle on an angle at the southwest corner. His police vehicle pointed into the lot of the Esso station. The WO now activated his roof lights. The only movement at the front of this police vehicle from this time was from fire and EMS staff. CW #1 could be seen stretchered off to a waiting ambulance.
At 24:45 minutes, the WO’s police vehicle was moved onto Regional Road 25, southbound, and positioned beside an ambulance. The WO’s police vehicle then followed the ambulance, southbound on Regional Road 25, en route to the HGH.
HRPS Vehicle – the SO’s Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL) / Global Positioning System (GPS) Data
At 12:23 a.m., the SO’s vehicle travelled southbound on Thompson Road South in a posted 60 km/h zone. South of Mccuaig Drive, the SO’s vehicle travelled at 116 km/h. North of Laurier Avenue, the SO’s vehicle travelled at 117 km/h. South of Laurier Avenue, the SO’s vehicle travelled at 109 km/h. North of Costigan Road, the SO’s vehicle travelled at 92 km/h. South of Costigan Road, the SO’s vehicle travelled at 82 km/h. North of Derry Road West, the SO’s vehicle travelled at 66 km/h. At the traffic-light controlled intersection at Derry Road West, the SO crossed the stop line at 21 km/h.
The SO turned right and travelled westbound on Derry Road West in a posted 60 km/h zone. West of Thompson Road South, the SO’s vehicle travelled at 51 km/h, 77 km/h, and 90 km/h at points. At 12:24 a.m., the SO was east of Holly Avenue, and travelled at 95 km/h. At the traffic-light controlled intersection at Holly Avenue, as per the SO’s ICCS, the light was green and the SO travelled at 93 km/h. West of Holly Avenue, the SO travelled at 93 km/h and 90 km/h at points. East of the collision scene at Regional Road 25, the SO travelled at 84 km/h, 60 k/h, and 29 km/h at points. At 12:25 a.m., the SO parked at the collision scene.
In summary, at 12:23 a.m., the SO travelled southbound on Thompson Road South from about Mccuaig Drive to Derry Road West. He initially travelled at 116 km/h and accelerated to 117 km/h. The SO decelerated and travelled through Laurier Avenue at about 109 km/h and passed Costigan Road at between 92 km/h and 89 km/h. The SO decelerated heavily to about 21 km/h to turn right onto Derry Road West. The SO then accelerated westbound on Derry Road West to a maximum of 95 km/h and travelled through the intersection of Holly Avenue. The SO decelerated as he approached the collision scene.
Airbag Control Module (ACM) from Honda Fit
Recorded Video from CW #1’s Dash Cam
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence The SIU canvassed the area for any video or audio recordings, and photographic evidence, but was not able to locate any.
Police Communication RecordingsThe communications audio was not date or time stamped.
At 00:33 minutes, on September 13, 2020, the dispatcher advised patrol units that a male suspect had smashed the front window of a business on Main Street, Milton. The dispatcher gave the suspect’s physical description. He wore a red hat and a red jersey. The suspect vehicle was described as a silver Honda Fit. The Honda Fit had driven off eastbound on Main Street East and the licence plate was provided.
At 01:42 minutes, the Honda Fit was said to have just ran the red light on Main Street as it approached Thompson Street.
At 01:55 minutes, an unknown unit asked if any unit was following it.
At 02:03 minutes, the SO advised he was at Thompson at Mccuaig Drive and was behind the suspect vehicle. His lights were on and the traffic was “medium”.
At 02:18 minutes, the SO stated he was “calling it here”. He updated the dispatcher that he was now north of Derry Road. At 02:28 minutes, the dispatcher repeated the pursuit was called off north of Derry Road.
At 02:36 minutes, the SO updated the dispatcher and stated the Honda was now westbound on Derry Road.
At 03:05 minutes, the SO advised he was following the route the Fit had taken with his emergency lights off.
At 03:20 minutes, the SO advised there was an accident on Derry Road at 25 (Regional Road 25). The vehicle had wiped out and the driver was trapped in his vehicle. The SO requested additional patrol units to assist, along with fire and ambulance.
Materials obtained from Police ServiceUpon request, the SIU obtained and reviewed the following materials and documents from the HRPS:
- Notes-three additional officers;
- Communications recordings;
- Copy of GPS Data Request;
- Email regarding SO’s Training - Suspect Apprehension Pursuits;
- Event Chronology;
- HRPS Drone Photographs;
- HRPS ICCS videos;
- HRPS Scenes of Crime Officer photographs;
- HRPS Involved Officers List;
- Mechanical Fitness of Police Vehicle;
- Motor Vehicle Collision Report;
- Occurrence Report;
- Policy- Arrest, Search and Release; and
- Policy- Suspect Apprehension Pursuits.
Materials obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from non-police sources:
- Ambulance Call Report;
- Medical Records- Complainant #2; and
- Medical Records- CW #1.
At about 12:20 a.m. on September 13, 2020, Complainant #2 made a 911 call to police. While seated in the passenger seat of a pickup truck, parked along the south curb of Main Street East, she had seen a male exit the vehicle parked behind their truck and throw a brick though the window of a business. Complainant #2 provided a description of the male and his car – a Honda Fit – and then updated the call-taker as the Honda accelerated away eastbound on Main Street East. Officers were informed of the call over the radio.
While stationary on Nipissing Road facing east toward Thompson Road South, the SO observed the Honda vehicle speed past him southward at speeds upwards of 150 km/h. The officer pulled onto Thompson Road South and began to accelerate after the Honda, activating his emergency lights for about 15 seconds before turning them off and informing the dispatcher that he was discontinuing pursuit.
The SO continued south on Thompson Road South and turned right onto Derry Road in the direction he had seen the Honda take. He continued westward on Derry Road until coming to the site of a collision at the roadway’s intersection with Regional Road 25.
The driver of the Honda, Complainant #1, had continued at speed westward on Derry Road, disregarded a red light at Regional Road 25 and collided with a pickup truck traveling south in the curb lane – the same pickup truck in which Complainant #2 was a passenger. The collision propelled the pickup truck into the front of a Toyota Venza, stopped on Derry Road at the lights facing east, before it finally came to rest at the southwest corner of the intersection. The Honda came to a stop in the eastbound lanes of Derry Road, also in the southwest quadrant of the intersection. All three vehicles sustained heavy damage.
The SO was the first to arrive at the intersection, reactivating his emergency lights as he did so. An officer who had been following the SO on Derry Road was next on scene. They exited their vehicles, assessed the condition of those involved in the collision, and called for paramedics and fire personnel.
Complainant #1 was taken from the scene to hospital in Hamilton. He was reported to have suffered a fractured clavicle and unspecified internal injuries. Complainant #2 was diagnosed with a concussion. The driver of the truck, CW #1, was fortunate to have escaped the collision with only minor injuries.
Section 320.13, Criminal Code – Dangerous operation causing bodily harm
Analysis and Director's Decision
The offence that arises for consideration is dangerous driving causing bodily harm contrary to section 320.13(2) of the Criminal Code. The offence is premised, in part, on conduct that amounts to a marked departure from the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the circumstances. In the instant case, the issue is whether there was any want of care in the manner in which the SO operated his cruiser and whether it was sufficiently derelict to attract criminal sanction. In my view, there was not.
The SO was within his rights in initiating a pursuit of the Honda. He had reason to believe that the driver of the vehicle was the same person who had just been reported to have damaged a storefront on Main Street East and fled from the scene in a Honda Fit. The Honda had also just travelled past him at speeds well in excess of the 60 km/h speed limit on Thompson Road South – a clear traffic infraction.
Once on Thompson Road South, the evidence indicates that the SO also reached significant speeds – between 110 and 120 km/h for stretches. This was to be expected if the officer was going to gain any ground on the Honda. However, as soon as it became clear that the Honda was traveling too fast and out of reach, the SO made the decision, wisely in my view, to bring the active pursuit to an end. He advised the police dispatcher accordingly, de-activated his emergency lights and decelerated. While on Thompson Road South, the officer’s ICCS establishes that no third-parties were ever placed at risk by the officer’s cruiser notwithstanding the SO’s speed at points.
The SO also exceeded the speed limit on Derry Road while traveling west in the direction the Honda had taken, but his speeds were less pronounced than they had been on Thompson Road South, topping out at 95 km/h. Again, there is no indication that any other motorists were placed at risk by the officer’s cruiser.
There is also no suggestion that the SO unduly pushed Complainant #1 or fueled his reckless driving. The officer was at all times well back of the Honda, and arrived at the scene of the intersection no sooner than some ten to 20 seconds after the collision had occurred.
Finally, it is worth noting that the environmental conditions at the time did not aggravate the risks inherent in any pursuit. The weather was clear, traffic was moderate and the roads were dry and in good repair.
In the result, as there is no reason on the aforementioned-record to believe that the SO transgressed the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law, there is no basis for proceeding with charges against the officer. The file is closed.
Date: February 25, 2021
Electronically approved by
Special Investigations Unit
The signed English original report is authoritative, and any discrepancy between that report and the French and English online versions should be resolved in favour of the original English report.