SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-PVD-064
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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 investigations
Information 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 death of a 62-year-old man (the “Complainant”).
Notification of the SIUOn February 27, 2021, at 10:55 p.m., the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) contacted the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) and reported the following:
At 9:40 p.m., the Subject Official (SO) was responding to a call for service. He was operating a Ford Taurus with subdued markings and no lights or siren activated. The SO was driving eastbound on Roseneath Landing Road and coming up a hill where he saw an oncoming car travelling in his lane. The SO pulled over and let the car pass by. The SO made a U-turn and, without lights or siren activated, drove toward a vehicle rolled over. The driver of the vehicle, the Complainant, was deceased, and was declared so at 10:30 p.m. There were signs of alcoholic beverage consumption.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 02/28/2021 at 12:02 a.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 02/28/2021 at 12:35 a.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 2
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 2
Number of SIU Collision Reconstructionists assigned: 1
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):62-year-old male, deceased
Civilian WitnessesCW #1 Not interviewed; next-of-kin
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Interviewed
CW #2 and CW #3 were interviewed on February 28, 2021 and March 3, 2021, respectively.
Subject OfficialsSO Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject official’s legal right
The Scene The Complainant succumbed to his injuries in the area of Northumberland Road 18 and Roseneath Landing Road; specifically, in front of 8340 Country Road 18, on the north side of Northumberland Road 18, just east of Roseneath Landing Road. The area is described as a rural setting with asphalt roads. The vehicle, a silver Ford Ranger, was severely damaged and surrounded by debris and numerous alcoholic beverage cans.
Figure 1 - The Complainant's silver Ford Ranger.
Physical Evidence Examination of the SO’s vehicle did not reveal any collision damage connected with the incident in question.
The SO’s Global Positioning System (GPS) DataThe GPS data associated with the SO’s vehicle established the following:
- At a point approximately 3.5 kilometres west of the collision scene, the SO was westbound on Northumberland County Road 18, west of Curtis Point Road, traveling at 108 km/h.
- At a point approximately 2.4 kilometres west of the collision scene, the SO was westbound on Northumberland County Road 18, west of Shearer Point Road, traveling at 130 km/h.
- At a point approximately 1.3 kilometres west of the collision scene, the SO was westbound on Northumberland County Road 18 traveling at 111 km/h.
- At a point approximately 300 metres west of the collision scene, the SO was westbound on Northumberland County Road 18 traveling at 137 km/h.
- At a point approximately 230 metres east of the collision scene, the SO was westbound on Northumberland County Road 18 traveling at 107 km/h.
- At a point approximately 350 metres east of the collision scene, the SO’s speed was 0 km/h.
Centre of Forensic Sciences (CFS) Submissions and ResultsFollowing the post-mortem examination on March 3, 2021, a submission was made by the pathologist for toxicology. The results concluded that the serum etOH [ethyl alcohol] level was 191 mg/100 mL, which was well above the legal limit and would have affected the Complainant’s operation of a motor vehicle. The Complainant’s urine etOH level was higher, at 252 mg/100 mL.
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence The SIU searched for and obtained audio records of relevance, as set out below.
OPP Provincial Communications Centre - Radio SummaryThe SO broadcast over the radio at 9:39:03 p.m., requesting that an ambulance be dispatched to Northumberland Road 18 and Roseneath Landing Road.
The SO was en route to a call for service involving a fail to remain at the scene of a collision in Campbellford, headed northbound on Northumberland Road 18. As he approached the top of a hill, just north of Roseneath Landing Road, an oncoming truck, now known to have been driven by the Complainant, travelled in the SO’s lane at a high rate of speed. The SO veered to the right as the Complainant sped past and lost control. The SO stopped his police vehicle and completed a three-point turn before activating his emergency lights. Unfortunately, the Complainant’s truck had already left the roadway and hit a massive tree.
The SO immediately attended to the collision site and confirmed that the Complainant was vital signs absent, subsequently updating dispatch accordingly.
The roads were wet and slippery at the time the collision occurred.
Materials Obtained from Police Service The SIU obtained the following records from the OPP Cobourg Detachment (Northumberland) between March 12, 2021, and March 15, 2021:
• GPS data;
• OPP Computer-assisted Dispatch Report;
• OPP General Occurrence-Sudden Death report;
• OPP Ministry of Transportation Motor Vehicle Report;
• OPP Provincial Communications Centre – audio recording; and
• Will-state-Submitted March 15, 2021.
At about 9:39 p.m. of February 27, 2021, the SO was speeding eastward on Northumberland County Road 18 en route to a call for service involving a vehicle having failed to remain at the scene of a collision. Just past Roseneath Landing Road, while making his way up an ascent in the road, the SO observed an oncoming truck traveling westward at a high rate of speed toward him in the eastbound lane. The officer veered to the right to avoid a collision and watched as the truck passed him.
The Complainant was behind the wheel and the lone occupant of the truck. After he passed the SO’s vehicle, the Complainant’s vehicle travelled across the roadway and struck a tree on the north side of the road in the area of 8340 Northumberland County Road 18.
The SO completed a three-point turn and travelled west a short distance to the scene of the collision. The Complainant was vital signs absent at the time. The officer radioed what had occurred and paramedics were dispatched to the site of the wreckage.
The Complainant was pronounced deceased at the scene at about 10:30 p.m.
Cause of DeathThe pathologist at autopsy was of the preliminary view that the Complainant’s death was attributable to multiple blunt force impacts. His blood alcohol level at autopsy was measured at 191 mg / 100 ml.
Section 128(13), Highway Traffic Act – Police vehicles and speeding
(b) a police department vehicle being used in the lawful performance of a police officer’s duties.
Analysis and Director's Decision
On the aforementioned-record, there is no suggestion in the evidence of any want of care on the part of the SO contributing to the collision that resulted in the Complainant’s death. The evidence indicates that the officer was acting in the execution of his lawful duty, traveling en route to a call for service, when he suddenly came upon the Complainant’s truck heading straight for him. The SO was able to avoid a collision by veering to the right. Thereafter, he quickly made his way to the Complainant’s vehicle and rendered the assistance he could. While the SO was traveling upwards of 100 km/h in the several minutes before the collision, topping out as high as 137 km/h about 300 metres west of the scene of the accident, there is no indication that the officer’s speed imperiled traffic around him, or that it contributed in any way to the Complainant’s loss of control of his vehicle. With respect to the SO’s speed, it is also important to note that the officer was responding to a call for service and, therefore, was exempt from the speed limitations by virtue of section 128(13)(b) of the Highway Traffic Act, and that Northumberland County Road 18 was a country road in a predominantly rural setting with relatively few properties located along the officer’s route. In the circumstances, I am satisfied that the collision that took the Complainant’s life was the result of his impairment by alcohol, and that the SO was in no way responsible for the accident.
For the foregoing reasons, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges against the SO and the file is closed.
Date: June 24, 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.