SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-PCI-053
This page contains graphic content that can shock, offend and upset.
Mandate of the SIU
Under the SIU Act, the Director of the SIU must determine based on the evidence gathered in an investigation whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that a criminal offence was committed. If such grounds exist, the Director has the authority to lay a criminal charge against the official. Alternatively, in cases where no reasonable grounds exist, the Director cannot lay charges. Where no charges are laid, a report of the investigation is prepared and released publicly, except in the case of reports dealing with allegations of sexual assault, in which case the SIU Director may consult with the affected person and exercise a discretion to not publicly release the report having regard to the affected person’s privacy interests.
Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019Pursuant to section 34, certain information may not be included in this report. This information may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- The name of, and any information identifying, a subject official, witness official, civilian witness or affected person.
- Information that may result in the identity of a person who reported that they were sexually assaulted being revealed in connection with the sexual assault.
- Information that, in the opinion of the SIU Director, could lead to a risk of serious harm to a person.
- Information that discloses investigative techniques or procedures.
- Information, the release of which is prohibited or restricted by law.
- Information in which a person’s privacy interest in not having the information published clearly outweighs the public interest in having the information published.
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy ActPursuant to section14 (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 that could reasonably be expected to interfere with a law enforcement matter or an investigation undertaken with a view to a law enforcement proceeding.
Pursuant to section 21 (i.e., personal privacy), protected personal information is not included in this report. This information may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- The names of persons, including civilian witnesses, and subject and witness officials;
- 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.
Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004Pursuant to this legislation, any information related to the personal health of identifiable individuals is not included.
Other proceedings, processes, and investigationsInformation may also have 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.
A person sustains a “serious injury” for purposes of the SIU’s jurisdiction if they: sustain an injury as a result of which they are admitted to hospital; suffer a fracture to the skull, or to a limb, rib or vertebra; suffer burns to a significant proportion of their body; lose any portion of their body; or, as a result of an injury, experience a loss of vision or hearing.
In addition, a “serious injury” means any other injury sustained by a person that is likely to interfere with the person’s health or comfort and is not transient or trifling in nature.
This report relates to the SIU’s investigation into the serious injuries an 18-year-old woman (the “Complainant”) suffered during an interaction with police.
Notification of the SIUOn February 20, 2021, at 3:15 a.m., the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Provincial Communication Centre (PCC) received a cellular telephone call from the Complainant. She was on Wilton Road, near Highway 401, and suicidal. While the police officers were dealing with the Complainant, she ran and jumped off an overpass, onto Highway 401. She was still on the phone with the dispatcher at the time and was heard huffing and puffing, like she was running. She was not struck by any vehicles. She was transported to Kingston General Hospital (KGH). Subject Official (SO) #1 and SO #2 had been dispatched to the scene.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 02/20/2021 at 5:36 a.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 02/20/2021 at 6:15 a.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 1
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):18-year-old female interviewed
The Complainant was interviewed on March 23, 2021.
Civilian Witness (CW)CW Not interviewed (Next-of-kin)
Subject Officials SO #1 Interviewed, but declined to submit notes, as is the subject official’s legal right.
SO #2 Interviewed, but declined to submit notes, as is the subject official’s legal right.
The subject officials were interviewed on March 8, 2021.
Witness Official (WO)WO Interviewed
The witness official was interviewed on March 10, 2021.
Investigative DelayThe interview of the Complainant was delayed until March 8, 2021 due to health reasons. The WO was designated on February 25, 2021 and his notes were received on March 4, 2021. After reviewing his notes, an interview was deemed necessary, and was conducted on March 10, 2021.
The Scene The scene was located at the overpass at Old Wilton Road and Highway 401. The Old Wilton Road overpass consisted of two lanes, one lane northbound and the other southbound, with guard rails on either side. Highway 401 was oriented east and west. Highway 401 consisted of four lanes divided by a metal barrier with two eastbound lanes and two westbound lanes. The height from the top of the guard rail on Old Wilton Road to the surface of Highway 401 was 7.07 metres. Old Wilton Road was covered with snow but plowed, with snowbanks on both sides. There were two footprints in the snowbank and a single handprint in the snow on the guard rail, believed to be the Complainant’s.
Figure 1 – Overpass
Figure 2 – Location of descent from the guard rail
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence 
OPP Communications and 911 RecordingThe OPP provided a copy of the communications and 911 recordings from February 20, 2021 to the SIU on March 1, 2021. The recording was 33 minutes and 54 seconds in length and the recording had no time stamps. The following is a summary of the salient portions of the recording.
The 911 operator answered a call and the Complainant said, “Umm, yea, I’m just calling to say you might want to close off a section of the highway under the bridge, the overpass at Old Wilton Road cause I’m going to jump off the overpass.” The operator asked her name and if she was alone. The Complainant said she was alone and she was 18-years-old.
The dispatcher said SO #2 and SO #1 could leave the RIDE program to attend a suicide call of a woman threatening to jump off the overpass to the 401. The Global Positioning System (GPS) was placing the cellular telephone call in the vicinity of 598 Old Wilton Road overpass over Highway 401.
The operator asked the Complainant why she felt she had to do this tonight. The Complainant said, “It’s just a lot of things—I already tried this a week ago, I took a bunch of pills and that didn’t work, so now I took a bunch of pills again tonight and now I’m jumping off the overpass to make sure it really works. I’m just saying that you might want to like close it off so that I don’t hurt somebody else accidentally.” The operator told the Complainant not to do that and he would get her help. The Complainant said she did not want help, and that they tried to get her help for years and she had tried everything.
The operator asked the Complainant if she took any pills and what she took. The Complainant said she took a full bottle of pain and anti-depression pills about a half-an-hour ago. She was on the bridge right now. The operator said he did not want her to hurt herself or anyone. The Complainant said she was going to jump but she would hang up because she did not want him to listen.
The operator asked what she did a week ago. The Complainant said, “I told you I took a bunch of pills, then I got taken to the hospital and they sent me home the next day. I’m here now on the bridge. I planned this for months and months now. It’s too late, I’m already feeling weird because of all the pills I took. I can just die. I know that sounds really selfish and it is. That’s the whole point is dying.”
The dispatcher (at about 12 minutes and 34 seconds since the Complainant called) told SO #2 and SO #1 that the call-taker was still on the line with the Complainant. SO #1 said that he and SO #2 were just turning onto Old Wilton Road now.
The operator asked the Complainant how she thought her family would feel about this. The Complainant said, “Terrible and I would feel terrible. I’m getting really dizzy, groggy right now. I’m just going to go for it. I can do this. I am going to do this. It’s really hurting, I can’t even keep my eyes open.” At about 14 minutes and 18 seconds into the recording, there were sounds of feet running. The operator said her name, but she did not respond.
At about 15 minutes into the recording, SO #1 said the Complainant jumped and she was in lane one. He asked for the eastbound lanes to be shut down. He and SO #2 were trying to stop the eastbound trucks but nobody was stopping. Nobody had hit her. The Complainant was moving around and breathing.
Materials Obtained from Police ServiceUpon request, the SIU received the following materials and documents from the OPP between February 20, 2021 and March 4, 2021:
- Email from OPP regarding Update;
- Notes-the WO;
- Computer-assisted Dispatch Details;
- Contact information for next-of-kin;
- Occurrence Reports (x3);
- Occurrences Screenshot; and
- 911 and Dispatch recordings.
Materials Obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from other sources:
- Ambulance Call Report – Lennox and Addington Emergency Medical Services, received on March 25, 2021; and
- Medical Records – KGH, received on April 13, 2021.
In the early morning hours of February 20, 2021, the Complainant called 911 as she was walking northward on Wilton Road toward the bridge over Highway 401. She indicated that she was going to jump off the overpass and asked that the highway be closed in that area as she did not want anyone else being hurt. Afflicted with depression and anxiety for many years, the Complainant had taken an overdose of pain and anti-depression medication that night and was determined to end her life by jumping from the bridge. The call-taker encouraged her not to hurt herself, and officers were dispatched to the scene.
At about 3:25 a.m., SO #1 and SO #2, who had been re-directed from a RIDE program in the vicinity, arrived on the overpass in separate cruisers traveling northward. The Complainant noticed the police and began to run north on the bridge as SO #1, in the lead cruiser, drove up alongside her. The officer exited and chased the Complainant as she turned and started to run south toward SO #2, who had also exited his cruiser some 12 to 15 metres behind his colleague’s vehicle. The Complainant noticed SO #2, whereupon she turned again, ran a short distance north and to the west, and jumped over the overpass railing.
SO #1 and SO #2 climbed down the overpass embankment to tend to the Complainant, who was lying in the eastbound passing lanes of the highway. Paramedics arrived and transported the Complainant to hospital where she was diagnosed with multiple fractures and a brain injury.
Sections 219 and 221, Criminal Code -- Criminal negligence causing bodily harm
(a) in doing anything, or(b) in omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do,
Analysis and Director's Decision
The offence that arises for consideration is criminal negligence causing bodily harm contrary to section 221 of the Criminal Code. The offence is predicated, in part, on conduct that amounts to a marked and substantial 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 either SO #1 and SO #2 dealt with the Complainant that caused or contributed to the Complainant’s injuries and was sufficiently egregious as to attract criminal sanction. In my view, there was not.
SO #1 and SO #2 were both engaged in the lawful discharge of their duties as they arrived on the bridge and attempted to save the Complainant. A police officer’s foremost duty is the preservation of life. The officers were possessed of information that the Complainant was making her way onto the overpass with the intention of jumping to end her life. They were duty bound to attempt to intercede.
I am further satisfied that both officers approached the situation with due regard for the Complainant’s health and safety. The information the officers had been provided suggested that the Complainant was at or near the bridge, and that her act of self-harm was imminent. Time was clearly of the essence and I am unable to fault the officers for approaching the scene with haste, particularly once the Complainant was observed running from the officers. Though the officers were unable to prevent the Complainant from jumping, it was not from want of trying. They tried to catch her as she ran from them, but she was able to successfully elude both officers, reaching the western guardrail and jumping over without hesitation. In fact, at no point did either officer make physical contact with her. Following the jump, there is nothing to suggest that the officers acted without care or dispatch as they made arrangements to close the highway, comforted the Complainant, and summoned paramedics. On this record, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that either SO #1 or SO #2 transgressed the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law.
In the result, as I am satisfied that both subject officials comported themselves within the criminal law at all times as they appeared on the bridge and tried to keep the Complainant from hurting herself, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges and the file is closed.
Date: May 10, 2021
Electronically approved by
Special Investigations Unit
- 1) The following records contain sensitive personal information and are not being released pursuant to section 34(2) of the Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019. The material portions of the records are summarized below. [Back to text]
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.