SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-PVD-100


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Mandate of the SIU

The Special Investigations Unit is a civilian law enforcement agency that investigates incidents involving an official where there has been death, serious injury, the discharge of a firearm at a person or an allegation of sexual assault. Under the Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019 (SIU Act), officials are defined as police officers, special constables of the Niagara Parks Commission and peace officers under the Legislative Assembly Act. The SIU’s jurisdiction covers more than 50 municipal, regional and provincial police services across Ontario.

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.

Information Restrictions

Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019

Pursuant 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 Act

Pursuant 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, 2004

Pursuant 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.

Mandate Engaged

Pursuant to section 15 of the SIU Act, the SIU may investigate the conduct of officials, be they police officers, special constables of the Niagara Parks Commission or peace officers under the Legislative Assembly Act, that may have resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault or the discharge of a firearm at a person.

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 49-year-old man (the “Complainant”).

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU

On April 3, 2021, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) notified the SIU of the following.

The OPP reported that on April 3, 2021, at 12:08 a.m., the Subject Official (SO) was operating a marked police cruiser southbound on County Road (CR) 50, in Adjala-Tosorontio Township, when a vehicle passed him at 120 km/h in an 80 km/h zone. The SO made a U-turn and activated his emergency lights. The vehicle stopped in the area of Sideroad (SR) 20 westbound and the SO began checking the vehicle. While doing so, the vehicle took off. The SO reported to the Provincial Communication Centre and a pursuit was called off. The SO proceeded after the vehicle and after about two kilometres found it rolled over. The driver was ejected from the vehicle. The vehicle had been stolen in Toronto and the driver's identity was unknown.

The Team

Date and time team dispatched: 04/03/2021 at 2:32 a.m.

Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 04/03/2021 at 3:54 a.m.

Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 2

Number of SIU Collision Reconstructionists assigned: 1

Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):

49-year-old male, deceased

Civilian Witnesses

CW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed

The civilian witnesses were interviewed on April 3, 2021.

Subject Officials

SO Interviewed, and notes received and reviewed

The subject official was interviewed on April 7, 2021.

Witness Officials

WO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed

The witness officials were interviewed on April 4, 2021.


The Scene

The scene was located on SR 20 between CR 4 and CR 5 (Adjala-Tosorontio Township). Both CRs were oriented in a north-south direction, and both intersected SR 20. CR 4 was west of the area of interest and CR 5 was east of the area.

SR 20 was oriented in an east-west direction. The road was a long stretch of roadway with straight and curved sections. It was a two-way undivided highway with no centre line or lane markings. The roadway portion was dry asphalt in good repair and a grade that was level. The highway was bordered by soft shoulders, ditches, and fields. There were no streetlights to illuminate the roadway and no posted speed limit signs were visible near the area of interest. A maximum speed sign – 80 km/h - was visible on the north side of SR 20 west of CR 4.

Tire marks were visible on the southside of the roadway. They crossed over the southside soft shoulder and into the ditch. The tire marks continued through the ditch. The ditch area consisted of tall grasses bent over, small trees, and road markers toppled. A licence plate and its bracket were visible in the ditch.

Figure 1 - Evidence markers placed on the tire marks leading to the Complainant's vehicle.

The tire marks continued to where a large gouge was visible from the lower section of the ditch to the upper section. The upper terrain was part of an opening that led to a field. Tire marks were not visible west of this opening. The ditch continued west of the opening. A toppled utility pole was broken into sections. Additional gouges were visible in the ditch and soft shoulder areas. A large debris field covered the roadway. This debris field extended from the north and south sides of the highway and included the soft shoulders and ditch areas.

An OPP ghost/stealth vehicle was resting in the middle of the roadway. This vehicle was facing west. A black pickup truck was resting in the south side ditch. It was resting on its roof and oriented in a southwest direction. Additional sections of a utility pole were resting in a field, slightly southwest of the pickup truck. A road sign for eastbound motorists advised that the roadway was curved. This sign was on the south side of the roadway west of where the pickup truck was resting.

Figure 2 - The Complainant's black pickup truck resting on its roof at the scene. Debris from the collision is scattered across the road.

The deceased was resting on the northside of the highway, near an opening that led to a field. The deceased was resting on his back. His head was closest to the opening and his feet were closest to the roadway. The deceased had no footwear on his feet; however, a black boot was resting on the roadway, within the debris field. Medical debris and signs of medical intervention were evident. The approximate length of the scene was 275 to 300 metres.

Scene Diagram

Forensic Evidence

Global Positioning System (GPS) Data – The SO’s Cruiser

The following data pertain to the SO’s cruiser during this incident.

12:03:58 to 12:05:29 a.m. Southbound on CR 50 5 to 97 km/h
12:05:33 to 12:05:35 a.m. Northbound on CR 50 39 km/h
12:05:37 to 12:05:45 a.m. Northbound on CR 50 3 to 87 km/h
12:05:47 to 12:06:09 a.m. Westbound SR 20 2 to 56 km/h
12:06:13 to 12:12:45 a.m. Stopped facing WB on SR 20 0 km/h
12:12:47 to 12:16:04 a.m. Westbound on SR 20 2 to 60 km/h
12:16:05 to 1:00:02 a.m. Complete stop at scene facing southeast 0 km/h

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence [1]

OPP Radio Communications

On April 3, 2021, at 12:07:29 a.m., the SO called his dispatch and reported that he was just off CR 50 and that he was not in pursuit. He gave his mileage as 157,599 kilometres and indicated that he had stopped a grey pickup truck on a small side road which he thought was SR 20. He reported the marker on the pickup and that he had last seen it going westbound at a high rate of speed.

When asked by the dispatcher if the SO had put his lights and siren on, he replied he had actually initiated a traffic stop and the pickup had come to a full stop and then took off. The SO told the dispatcher he had stopped the pickup truck for the HTA [Highway Traffic Act] offence of speeding. The SO reported that the pickup truck was registered to a car rental company in Toronto and he asked for permission to continue patrolling westbound on SR 20.

The SO asked a second time if he could continue patrolling in the direction the pickup truck had gone and he was given permission. He then reported that a passing motorist had told him that the pickup truck which had failed to stop had just crashed further up the road. He reported that the passing motorist had been pretty shook up and was not sure exactly where it had crashed but it was past CR 5 on SR 20.

The SO reported that he was in the area mentioned and had a vehicle rolled over on its roof and electrical wires down. He then reported seeing an adult [now known to have been the Complainant], who appeared to have been ejected from the pickup, which was on its roof in the ditch. He started CPR on the Complainant, who was across the road from the crash site.

Materials Obtained from Police Service

The SIU obtained the following records from the OPP between April 6, 2021, and April 9, 2021:
• Police Cruiser – GPS Data;
• Notes of WOs and the SO;
• Communication recordings;
OPP Homicide Sudden Death Occurrence report;
OPP Supplementary Occurrence Report; and
OPP Witness Statement-CW #1.

Materials Obtained from Other Sources

The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the following other sources:
• Photograph of Contemporaneous Notes made by CW #1;
• Preliminary Autopsy Findings, dated April 5, 2021, from the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service; and
• Photograph taken by CW #2.

Incident Narrative

The material events in question are clear thanks to the accounts of the subject official and a civilian eyewitness, as well as GPS data associated with the SO’s cruiser. Shortly after midnight of April 3, 2021, the SO was on patrol performing speed enforcement. The officer was southbound on CR 50 when his speed measuring device registered a pickup truck traveling north toward him at 120 km/h. The speed limit on the roadway was 80 km/h. The SO decided to stop the vehicle for speeding. The driver of the vehicle was the Complainant.

After executing a U-turn on the CR 50, a distance north of CR 1, the SO accelerated after the pickup truck to catch up to it. The Complainant braked through the intersection of CR 50 with SR 20, came to a stop just north of SR 20, and turned to travel south on CR 50 before quickly turning right onto westbound SR 20. At about this time, the SO activated his emergency lights and turned onto SR 20. He subsequently turned on his siren and pulled to a stop in the middle of the westbound lane behind the pickup truck, which had also come to a stop.

From inside his cruiser, the SO took note of the licence plate marker and ran checks on the vehicle, all of which turned up negative. As he was about to exit his vehicle to speak with the driver, the Complainant accelerated away westward. The SO radioed what had occurred and stayed put in his cruiser.

The Complainant continued at speed down SR 20. At a point approximately two kilometres west of where he had come to a stop for the officer, the Complainant lost control of his vehicle. The pickup truck drove across the eastbound lane and into the southside ditch where it rolled over before coming to rest on its roof. The Complainant was ejected in the collision, his body coming to rest on a driveway several metres north of SR 20.

After some time had elapsed, the SO sought and received permission from the communications centre to continue westward in the direction of the pickup. At about the same time, an eastbound motorist, CW #1, pulled up alongside the SO’s cruiser and advised the officer of a serious wreckage up ahead.

The SO travelled to the site of the collision and observed the Complainant’s body and the pickup truck. After checking to see if there were any additional passengers in and around the pickup, the officer returned to the Complainant’s body and started CPR. Firefighters and paramedics began to arrive at the scene and took over the Complainant’s care. He was pronounced deceased at the scene at 12:50 a.m.

Cause of Death

The pathologist at autopsy was of the preliminary view that the Complainant’s death was attributable to “blunt force injuries”.

Relevant Legislation

Section 320.13, Criminal Code – Dangerous operation of motor vehicles, vessels and aircraft

320.13 (3) Everyone commits an offence who operates a conveyance in a manner that, having regard to all of the circumstances, is dangerous to the public and, as a result, causes the death of another person.

Analysis and Director's Decision

On April 3, 2021, the Complainant lost his life in a motor vehicle collision in Adjala-Tosorontio. Because he had been stopped moments before the collision by an OPP officer for speeding, the SIU was notified and commenced an investigation. The officer – the SO – was identified as a subject official for purposes of the SIU investigation. On my assessment of the evidence, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the SO committed a criminal offence in connection with the Complainant’s death.

The offence that arises for consideration is dangerous driving causing death contrary to section 320.13(3) of the Criminal Code. The offence is predicated, 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 focus of the analysis is whether there was a want of care on the part of the SO that caused or contributed to the collision and/or was sufficiently egregious as to attract criminal sanction. In my view, there was not.

The SO was in the lawful discharge of his duties when he decided to follow the Complainant to pull him over for speeding. He had just clocked the Complainant’s pickup truck traveling at 120 km/h, significantly in excess of the 80 km/h speed limit on CR 50.

It is also apparent that the SO comported himself at all times with full regard for public safety. Realizing that the only infraction the Complainant had committed was speeding – a Highway Traffic Act violation - and that he had the pickup truck’s licence plate marker, the officer wisely decided against pursuing the vehicle when it accelerated westward away from the cruiser. In his estimation, the risks inherent in a pursuit at that time outweighed any imperative there was to apprehend the Complainant. It is highly regrettable that the Complainant did not adjust his driving behaviour when it would have been clear that the SO was not chasing him. As it was, he went on to lose control of his pickup truck, crashing into the south ditch of the roadway, himself ejected from the vehicle and sustaining life-ending injuries in the process. On this record, the Complainant is alone responsible for his unfortunate demise.

In the result, as there is no reason to believe that the SO comported himself other than lawfully throughout his brief engagement with the Complainant, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case and the file is closed.

Date: July 12, 2021

Electronically approved by

Joseph Martino
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.