SIU Director’s Report - Case # 23-PVI-095
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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 section 14 (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.
- 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 of a 43-year-old man (the “Complainant”).
Notification of the SIU On March 22, 2023, at 11:45 a.m., the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) reported that the Complainant had sustained a serious injury following an interaction with the OPP.
According to the OPP, on March 22, 2023, at 12:47 a.m., OPP officers in Caledon saw the Complainant driving through several red lights. They did not engage in a pursuit at that time. The Complainant next made his way into Halton Region where Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) members attempted a spike belt stop of his vehicle, but that endeavour was unsuccessful. At 1:28 a.m., HRPS officers continued to pursue the Complainant back into Wellington County, disengaging at 1:35 a.m. At 1:36 a.m., a Wellington County OPP officer picked up the pursuit. At 1:46 a.m., a second Wellington County OPP officer joined and attempted a tandem stop. That attempt was not successful. At 1:48 a.m., at a T-intersection, the Complainant lost control of his vehicle and entered the ditch north of County Road 18,  and 4th Line, Centre Wellington Township. The Complainant was taken to Groves Memorial Hospital, Fergus, before he was transferred to Hamilton General Hospital. At 11:00 a.m., the Complainant was diagnosed with a fractured ankle.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 03/22/2023 at 12:55 p.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 03/22/2023 at 2:15 p.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 1
Number of SIU Collision Reconstructionists: 1
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):43-year-old male; interviewed; medical records obtained and reviewed
The Complainant was interviewed on March 22, 2023.
Subject Officials (SO)SO #1 Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject official’s legal right
SO #2 Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject official’s legal right
Witness Officials (WO)WO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Not interviewed; notes reviewed and interview deemed not necessary
WO #4 Not interviewed; notes reviewed and interview deemed not necessary
The witness officials were interviewed on April 21, 2023.
The Scene The events in question transpired on Wellington 27 as it travelled north and became Fifth Line and then Fourth Line until Wellington Road 18.
On March 22, 2023, at 2:55 p.m., a SIU forensic investigator arrived at and processed, the collision scene located at the intersection of Wellington Road 18, and Fourth Line, Centre Wellington.
The Fourth Line ran north and south and ended at a T-intersection with Wellington Road 18. There was a stop sign placed to control northbound traffic before it entered either east or west onto Wellington Road 18.
The Complainant’s vehicle rested in the ditch on the north side of Wellington Road 18, across from Fourth Line. It had travelled across a ditch and its front end was embedded in an embankment on top of which was a walking path. The ‘Dead End’ sign had been knocked down by the vehicle and was leaning against the vehicle’s front end. The base from which the signpost had been severed was behind the vehicle. Tire marks led from the edge of the pavement to where the vehicle came to rest.
The vehicle had extensive front end damage.
The scene was photographed, measurements were taken, and a scene diagram was created.
At 4:30 p.m., the OPP vehicle assigned to WO #2 was examined at the Centre Wellington Detachment. That police vehicle had minor damage at the passenger side front corner. That damage was not fresh and was already exhibiting the onset of rust.
All the other involved police vehicles were examined. None were damaged.
The following image was generated by OPP drone technology and captured the T-intersection of Wellington Road 18 and Fourth Line, with north orientated (essentially) to the bottom of the image. It did not capture the police vehicles involved in situ.
Figure 1 – OPP drone image of the T-intersection of Wellington Road 18 and Fourth Line
The following image captured the view looking east along Wellington Road 18, and the position and angle the Complainant’s vehicle stopped. Of note is the severed wooden signpost at the entering-edge of the ditch and the remainder of the sign angled against the hood of the vehicle.
Figure 2 - View looking east along Wellington Road 18 of the Complainant’s vehicle in the ditch
Global Positioning System (GPS) Data – Police VehiclesAn analysis of the data, cross-referenced with in-car camera (ICC) footage, police radio communications recordings, and measurements and images from Google Maps, was conducted by the SIU collision reconstructionist, with the following findings.
At about 12:46 a.m., SO #2 drove, unremarkably, southbound in the town of Erin and was passed, on his left, by the Complainant driving at a high rate of speed. SO #2 accelerated, followed the Complainant southbound, and made a number of attempts to overtake him. The Complainant blocked each attempt. That continued for four minutes until the pursuit was terminated by the communications centre sergeant. During that interaction, SO #2 drove an average speed of 90 km/h.
At 1:36 a.m., as SO #1 drove southbound through Rockwood, he spotted the Complainant. He executed a U-turn and followed the Complainant, northbound. They drove through Rockwood on Main Street, which became Wellington Road 27. They passed through the traffic light-controlled intersection at Wellington Road 124, where Wellington Road 27 changed to the Fifth Line. SO #1 followed the Complainant. Their speed exceeded the speed limit but was not excessive. SO #1 had not activated his flashing emergency lights.
As SO #1 and the Complainant passed through that intersection, SO #2, WO #2 and WO #1, came from the east into the Rockwood area. They all drove at high speeds consistent with trying to catch up to SO #1.
SO #1 followed the Complainant, northbound, at or around speeds of 90 km/h. SO #1’s emergency lights were not activated.
SO #2, WO #2 and WO #1, in that order, continued northbound on Wellington Road 27 to catch up. They all had their emergency lights activated. At about 1:42 a.m., as they drove northbound on the Fifth Line, SO #2, WO #2 and WO #1, passed a vehicle which had pulled over and stopped as they approached.
At 1:44:47 a.m., a police radio transmission from the communications centre broadcast, “If we see another vehicle on the road, this has to end.” As that broadcast sounded, SO #1 was north of Wellington Road 22. Two northbound facing vehicles had stopped on the Fifth Line, south of Wellington Road 22, as SO #2 and WO #2 approached. SO #2, WO #2 and WO #1, passed those stopped vehicles. No mention was made of those vehicles by any of the police officers.
SO #2 caught up to SO #1 near Townline Eramosa Garafraxa. SO #1 activated his flashing emergency lights. WO #2 and WO #1, in that order, caught up to SO #1 and SO #2.
At 1:48:04 a.m., the Complainant entered the intersection at Wellington Road 18 and Fourth Line. He continued northbound, and straight, through the intersection.
At 1:48:06 a.m., the Complainant entered the ditch on the north side of the intersection and struck a signpost. When the Complainant entered the intersection, SO #1 was behind him at 83 km/h. SO #2 was behind the Complainant at 96 km/h. WO #2 was behind the Complainant at between 85 and 122 km/h. WO #1 was behind the Complainant at 114 km/h.
In the final 15 seconds, and within the final few hundred metres before the collision, the police officers each slowed from about 130 km/h. The speeds at which the police officers drove as they approached the collision scene were consistent with the calculated speed the Complainant had been driving (138 km/h) when he applied the brakes about nine seconds prior to the collision. The police officers arrived at the collision scene in the order of SO #1, then SO #2, WO #2 and WO #1, all within a few seconds of each other.
SO #1 had pursued the Complainant for about 19 kilometres, over a period of about 12 minutes, for an average speed of about 95 km/h. For the last five kilometres (about three minutes), his emergency lights were activated, and he averaged about 100 km/h.
SO #1, SO #2, and WO #2, followed by WO #1, pursued the Complainant with their emergency lights activated for at least two-and-one-half kilometres prior to the collision. The flashing emergency lights of the multiple police vehicles would have been obvious to the Complainant as he drove northbound on Fourth Line before the collision occurred.
SIU Technical Collision Report EvaluationThe SIU collision reconstructionist reviewed materials from the OPP related to this collision.
Relying on the Collision Reconstruction Report prepared by OPP WO #4,  and the videos, photographs, and reports found in SIU records, it was determined the single motor vehicle collision occurred on March 22, 2023, at about 1:48 a.m., after the T-intersection where Fourth Line (north/south) ended at Wellington Road 18 (east/west). That intersection was controlled by a stop sign for northbound traffic on Fourth Line.
Pre-collision, the Complainant drove northbound on Fourth Line at a high rate of speed. He disobeyed the stop sign he faced, drove straight through the intersection, and crashed into the ditch on the north side of Wellington Road 18.
As per the Crash Data Retrieval (CDR) system report, which recorded pre-collision data related to the deployment of the airbags in the Complainant’s vehicle, the Complainant was not wearing his seat belt. He applied the brakes at least five seconds prior to the collision and braked until the collision occurred. He did not apply the accelerator pedal after that brake application. There was virtually no steering input. The speed of the vehicle decreased from 102 km/h, five seconds prior to the collision, to 56 km/h, when the vehicle struck the ditch.
As seen on the ICC system from SO #1’s police vehicle, the Complainant applied the brakes about nine seconds before his vehicle crashed. Using the same deceleration factor as seen on the CDR data, it was determined that the Complainant drove at about 138 km/h when he applied the brakes at his approach to the intersection. The road, weather, and lighting conditions did not contribute to this collision, and no other vehicle was involved.
The physical evidence was consistent with the collision having been caused by the Complainant driving his vehicle at 138 km/h as he approached the intersection, well in excess of a speed necessary to have been able to stop for the stop sign, and/or negotiate safely through the intersection.
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence 
OPP ICC FootageOn March 22, 2023, starting at about 12:46:56 a.m., SO #2 was captured driving southbound on Main Street, Erin, as the Complainant passed him at high speed. SO #2 accelerated and caught up to the Complainant, who began to brake. SO #2 activated his emergency lights. The Complainant accelerated away. SO #2 tried to pass the Complainant but the Complainant changed lanes, blocking SO #2’s attempt to pass and increasing his speed. Starting at about 12:47:44 a.m., the Complainant again applied his brakes and moved to prevent SO #2 from trying to pass him. The Complainant accelerated away from SO #2, southbound.
Starting at about 12:48:24 a.m., SO #2, some distance behind the Complainant, broadcast his speed to be 146 km/h. Starting at about 12:48:57 a.m., he activated his siren, still four or five car-lengths behind the Complainant. Starting at about 12:49:11 a.m., SO #2 reported his speed at 100 km/h, as he pursued the Complainant south on Ninth Line. Starting at about 12:50:07 a.m., SO #2 attempted to pull beside the Complainant, but was again blocked. The camera captured left rear fender damage on the Complainant’s vehicle.
Starting at about 12:49:29 a.m., the communications centre asked why SO #2 was in pursuit. He replied that the Complainant had come up from behind him, and tried to ram and run him off the road. Speeds were now about 86 km/h, and the Complainant was driving in the wrong lane. He hit his brakes but drove through a stop sign. SO #2 practically stopped at that sign before proceeding through and catching up to the Complainant, who had slowed. The Complainant again accelerated and, at 12:50 a.m., stuck his arm straight out the driver’s window. SO #2 attempted to pull up or pass but the Complainant sped away, still in the wrong lane. He continued at speeds of 86 to 90 km/h headed toward Halton Region.
Starting at about 12:51:04 a.m., the communications sergeant stopped the pursuit as SO #2 was headed into Halton, a populated area. SO #2 pulled his police vehicle to the side of the road and broadcast his mileage. He then broadcast the Complainant had stopped his vehicle, just up the road from him. The Complainant’s taillights were captured at a stop before he reversed towards SO #2 and stopped. SO #2 concluded the Complainant wished him to continue in pursuit. He did not. Starting at about 12:52:41 a.m., the Complainant drove away.
On March 22, 2023, at 1:29 a.m., SO #1’s ICC system captured him listening to radio communications made by HRPS as they were behind the Complainant on Highway 7, entering the OPP’s area. Starting at about 1:32 a.m., the OPP communications supervisor directed HRPS officers to stop and let the OPP continue the pursuit. They were then directed to follow, slowly, to make sure there were no accidents.
SO #1 made his way to Highway 7 and travelled towards the pursuit. He was on Main Street, Rockwood, when communications indicated the Complainant was also on that road. The Complainant passed SO #1, coming from his opposite direction of travel. SO #1 made a U-turn, at 1:36:22 a.m., and broadcast he was behind the Complainant as they travelled through Rockwood, northbound on Main Street. Their speeds were 60 km/h, and then 65 km/h. The Complainant’s vehicle was travelling on a rim. SO #1 followed at a distance as other police officers arrived in the area. A HRPS officer broadcast they were behind an OPP officer.
Starting at about 1:38:44 a.m., SO #1 attempted to pass the Complainant, who immediately pulled into the oncoming lane to block SO #1. The Complainant then increased his speed to 110 km/h, increasing the distance between he and SO #1. Starting at about County Road 124, the Complainant hit his brakes briefly, and drove through the red light that controlled that intersection. SO #1 broadcast his speed to be 95 km/h, and that he was about 200 metres behind the Complainant, who had slowed to 100 km/h.
Starting at about 1:41:42 a.m., the communications sergeant authorized a stop because the Complainant had run the red light. He authorized the pursuit saying there was no other traffic or a risk to the public due to pursuit. Police officers were asked to broadcast updates and re-assess if there arose a risk to the public. SO #1 acknowledged and advised his speed was 95 km/h.
Starting at about 1:42:27 a.m., SO #2 broadcast he was behind SO #1. SO #1 closed the distance between he and the Complainant to about five car-lengths. The Complainant maintained 80 km/h but straddled the centre line of the roadway a fair amount of time.
Starting at about 1:44:19 a.m., the Complainant slowed as he approached a stop sign and overhead red light at Wellington Road 22. He travelled through that intersection at 50 km/h and continued northbound on the wrong side of the road.
Starting at about 1:44:53 a.m., the communications supervisor broadcast that if a civilian vehicle appeared on the road, the pursuit was to end.
Starting at about 1:45:36 a.m., SO #1 activated his emergency lights. Thirteen seconds later, SO #2 broadcast a suggestion that they attempt a tandem stop. SO #1 increased his speed and, at 1:46:24 a.m., attempted to pass the Complainant, who immediately changed lanes and blocked that attempt. SO #1 maintained a one to two car-length distance behind the Complainant, who continually swerved between lanes to prevent being passed. The Complainant increased his speed but applied his brakes as he entered a right-hand curve in the road.
Starting at about 1:46:54 a.m., WO #1’s police vehicle’s emergency lights were captured as he approached the pursuit.
Starting at about 1:47:10 a.m., SO #1 came out of the curve in the road and attempted to pass the Complainant. Again, the Complainant changed lanes to block him and continued straddling the centre line, swaying back and forth between the two lanes.
Starting at about 1:47:37 a.m., SO #2 broadcast they were approaching Wellington Road 18 at 130 km/h. SO #1 remained two or three car-lengths behind the Complainant. The Complainant’s brake lights illuminated as he approached the T-intersection. Starting at about 1:48:06 a.m., the Complainant drove through the intersection, hit a road sign, and travelled into and through the ditch.
Starting at about 1:48:11 a.m., SO #1 drove through the intersection and stopped on the shoulder of the road. SO #2 stopped to the right of SO #1’s police vehicle. A police van stopped at the stop line on Fourth Line, and WO #1 moved to the driver’s side of SO #1’s police vehicle.
Starting at about 1:48:16 a.m., SO #1 exited his police vehicle, drew his firearm, and began to make his way to the Complainant’s driver’s door. He told the Complainant to show his hands several times. Two seconds later, SO #2 appeared, gun drawn, and made his way to the front passenger side door of the Complainant’s vehicle. As SO #1 and SO #2 arrived by their respective doors, WO #1 appeared and made his way to the driver’s door. He began to open the driver’s door as SO #2 opened the passenger door.
Starting at about 1:48:28 a.m., WO #2 arrived and made his way to the driver’s side of the Complainant’s vehicle. He arrived as SO #2 entered the vehicle through the front passenger door. WO #1 was positioned at the opened driver’s door and began to pull the Complainant out from behind the wheel. SO #1 was at WO #1’s right, just behind the open door. WO #1 pulled on the Complainant’s arm as SO #1 positioned himself over the Complainant’s body.
Starting at about 1:48:40 a.m., the Complainant was out of the car and on the ground; WO #1 had let go of him. The Complainant could no longer be seen on camera. SO #1 was on a knee, bent over the Complainant, and WO #2 was on the Complainant’s legs. A second later, SO #2 exited the passenger side of the Complainant’s vehicle, made his way around the back of the vehicle, and took a position on his knees by the Complainant’s head.
Starting at about 1:48:47 a.m., SO #1 stood up and SO #2 delivered multiple left-handed strikes down and towards where the Complainant’s upper body would have been positioned. WO #2 delivered two knee strikes as SO #1 re-engaged to assist with handcuffing. The camera did not capture where the knee strikes landed.
Starting at about 1:49:03 a.m., WO #2 repositioned himself as he extended his left leg out and delivered two more knee strikes. The camera did not capture where those strikes landed. WO #1 watched as the arrest progressed. SO #1, SO #2 and WO #2 continued to struggle to secure the Complainant.
Starting at about 1:49:30 a.m., Officer #1 arrived and made her way to the driver’s side of the Complainant’s vehicle arriving as the handcuffing process had finished and everybody stood back.
A radio transmission was made saying the Complainant was complaining of a broken leg. He was brought to standing and walked to the top of the ditch.
Communications Recordings and Computer-assisted Dispatch (CAD) ReportThe communications recording opened with SO #2 making a broadcast to the communications supervisor that a vehicle had come out of nowhere and tried to run at his police vehicle. The driver [now known to be the Complainant] was goading SO #2 into a pursuit. The Complainant drove erratically and was a danger to the public. The communications centre sergeant authorized a pursuit.
Starting at about 1:27:24 a.m., the communication centre broadcast that the HRPS were in pursuit of the Complainant, and had attempted to stop the vehicle using a spike belt which deflated the Complainant’s front driver’s side tire. The Complainant did not stop and had travelled out of HRPS jurisdiction, past the Eramosa Township town line. Officer #1 broadcast there were a couple police officers in that area who could assist. At 1:32:05 a.m., HRPS officers were directed to stop their pursuit and follow the Complainant from a distance.
SO #1 broadcast he was behind the Complainant, northbound on Fourth Line. He asked the HRPS vehicles to follow him until additional OPP officers arrived. They were now driving on Main Street, through Rockwood. There was no other traffic on the road.
Starting at about 1:34:44 a.m., a broadcast was made that the Complainant was approaching Dumbar Street and Highway 7 at 100 km/h, in an 80 km/h zone, on the wrong side of the road. There was still no other traffic on the roads.
Starting at about 1:39:39 a.m., the Complainant was driving 100 km/h in an 80 km/h zone, north on the Fourth Line, north of Rockwood, driving on a rim and slowing down.
Starting at about 1:41:42 a.m., the communications supervisor broadcast the pursuit should be continued because the Complainant’s driving behaviour presented a risk to public safety. He instructed that should traffic change he was to be notified and the pursuit was to stop.
Starting at about 1:43:54 a.m., a broadcast was made indicating the Complainant had run the stop sign at Wellington County Road 22, at 50 km/h.
Starting at about 1:46:10 a.m., SO #1 and SO #2 attempted a tandem stop but failed, and WO #1 was now behind SO #2.
Starting at about 1:47:52 a.m., the Complainant was driving 130 km/h. There was no other traffic on the road.
Starting at about 1:48:16 a.m., the Complainant drove through a T-intersection, and crashed his vehicle into the north side ditch of Fourth Line and Wellington County Road 18. Further broadcasts indicated the Complainant had not been wearing a seatbelt, and suffered bruising and swelling to the left upper part of his chest and face. When WO #1 pulled the Complainant out of his vehicle, the Complainant complained of a broken leg.
Starting at about 1:50:19 a.m., paramedics were called and eventually transported the Complainant to Groves Memorial Hospital with SO #2 in the ambulance as an escort. SO #1 and WO #1 followed.
Materials Obtained from Police Service Upon request, the SIU received the following materials from the OPP between March 24, 2023, and July 7, 2023:
- Record of CAD;
- Communications recordings;
- ICC footage;
- Scene photographs;
- GPS data for the involved police vehicles;
- Accident Reconstruction Report;
- Collision Reports;
- CDR Report – the Complainant’s vehicle;
- Notes – WO #2;
- Notes – WO #3;
- Notes – WO #1;
- Notes – WO #4; and
- List of Involved Police Officers.
Materials Obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU obtained the following record from other sources on March 28, 2023:
- The Complainant’s medical records.
In the early morning of March 22, 2023, SO #2 was operating a police cruiser southbound on Main Street, Erin, when a Chrysler 300 passed him at speed. The officer accelerated to catch up to the Chrysler and found himself intentionally blocked by the vehicle as he attempted to overtake it. The Chrysler continued southbound, at times travelling in the northbound lane. About five minutes after the Chrysler had passed him, SO #2 was directed by the police communications centre to discontinue pursuit. He did so.
The Complainant was driving the Chrysler. WO #1 reported seeing him smoking what appeared to be a large marijuana cigarette while driving, and later evidence of suspected marijuana use was found in his vehicle. The Complainant would continue to travel at speed, finding himself westbound from Ninth Line, until he was picked up again by HRPS vehicles. The HRPS vehicles followed the Complainant on Highway 7 where they too were directed to disengage as they were entering into OPP jurisdiction.
SO #1 was on Main Street, Rockwood, travelling south when he heard the transmission ordering HRPS vehicles to discontinue. The officer observed the Complainant travelling northbound past him, executed a U-turn, and started after the Chrysler. The Complainant’s vehicle had moments prior sustained a punctured tire as it travelled over a spike belt deployed by the HRPS.
SO #1 would continue after the Complainant and watch as the Chrysler drove through a red light at Wellington Road 124. The two vehicles travelled past the intersection and were joined by a second OPP cruiser. SO #2, in the company of cruisers operated by WO #2 and WO #1, had turned right behind SO #1 from Wellington Road 124.
With SO #1 in the lead, he and SO #2 closed the distance to the Chrysler. After the Complainant was seen disregarding the stop sign at Wellington Road 22, SO #2 suggested they attempt a tandem stop of the Chrysler. The cruisers were unable to maneuver into position to execute the tactic as the Complainant blocked SO #1 each time he tried to pass the Chrysler.
The Complainant continued at speed approaching the roadway’s T-intersection with Wellington Road 18 at upwards of 130 km/h. The Chrysler travelled past the stop sign for northbound traffic and across the intersection where it crashed into the ditch on the northside of Wellington Road 18.
SO #1, SO #2, WO #2, and WO #1 arrived at the site of the collision, exited their cruisers, and approached the Chrysler. WO #1 opened the vehicle’s driver door and pulled the Complainant out onto the ground. The officers surrounded the Complainant and used physical force before he was handcuffed: WO #2 delivered four knee strikes to the Complainant’s upper right side, and SO #2 punched the Complainant’s upper body six or seven times.
The Complainant was transported to hospital and eventually diagnosed with fractures of the left lateral orbital wall, the right distal fibula, and the posterior talus.
Section 25(1), Criminal Code -- Protection of persons acting under authority
(a) as a private person,(b) as a peace officer or public officer,(c) in aid of a peace officer or public officer, or(d) by virtue of his office,
Section 320.13(2), Criminal Code – Dangerous operation causing bodily harm
Analysis and Director's Decision
Pursuant to section 25(1) of the Criminal Code, police officers are immune from criminal liability for force used in the course of their duties provided such force was reasonably necessary in the execution of an act that they were required or authorized to do by law.
The Complainant was subject to arrest at the time SO #2 and WO #2 used force against him. He had embarked on a course of reckless and dangerous driving - operating his vehicle well over the speed limit, disregarding traffic control signals, and travelling on the wrong side of the road – and the officers were within their rights in seeking to take him into custody.
As for the force used by the officers – a series of knee strikes and punches – I am unable to reasonably conclude they were unwarranted. The weight of the evidence indicates that the Complainant physically resisted as the officers attempted to control his arms so they could be handcuffed, refusing to release his right arm from underneath his torso as he lay prone on the ground. In the circumstances, the officers were entitled to resort to a degree of force to subdue the Complainant and effect their purpose. While the number of strikes each officer delivered is subject to scrutiny, I am satisfied the force fell within the range of what was reasonable in the moment. In arriving at this conclusion, I am mindful that the law does not expect an officer involved in a stressful situation to measure the degree of their responsive force with precision; what is required is a reasonable response, not an exacting one: R v Nasogaluak,  1 SCR 206; R v Baxter (1975), 27 CCC (2d) 96 (Ont. CA). Once handcuffed, there is no evidence of additional force having been brought to bear against the Complainant.
Aside from the force used by the officers at the tail end of their engagement with the Complainant, the offence of dangerous driving causing bodily harm contrary to section 320.13(2) of the Criminal Code also arises for consideration. As an offence of penal negligence, a simple want of care will not suffice to give rise to liability. Rather, 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 observed in the circumstances. In the instant case, the issue is whether there was a want of care in the manner in which SO #1 and SO #2 operated their vehicles, sufficiently egregious to attract criminal sanction, that caused or contributed to the collision. In my view, there was not.
At the outset, I should note that SO #1 and SO #2 had cause to pursue the Complainant. The Complainant had proven a danger on the roadways, and it was imperative that he be stopped in the interests of public safety. That would have been the thinking of the supervisor monitoring the pursuit from the communications centre, who had green lit the officers’ interventions as they travelled north towards the collision site.
I am also satisfied that the officers comported themselves with due care and regard for public safety during the pursuit. Wellington Road 27, which became Fifth Line and then Fourth Line en route to the site of the collision, was dry and in good repair. Though the officers exceeded the speed limit, they did not endanger third-party motorists – there were little or none on the roadway. The attempted tandem stop did bring with it a degree of risk as it contemplated a cruiser in front and behind the Chrysler in close proximity, after which they would slow to force the Complainant to a controlled stop. In the circumstances at hand, however, I am satisfied that public safety considerations were not prohibitive. Traffic was light and there was significant risk attendant to allowing the pursuit to continue. Lastly, it bears noting that the officers’ vehicles, though close, were not so close to the Chrysler that they effectively drove the Complainant off the road.
In the result, as I am satisfied that the subject officials did not use excessive force or drive dangerously in their dealings with the Complainant, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case. The file is closed.
Date: November 20, 2023
Electronically approved by
Special Investigations Unit
- 1) The information in this section reflects the information received by the SIU at the time of notification and does not necessarily reflect the SIU’s finding of facts following its investigation. [Back to text]
- 2) Wellington Road 18, and County Road are synonymous with one another. [Back to text]
- 3) Requested from the OPP on April 3, 2023, and received by the SIU on May 9, 2023. [Back to text]
- 4) 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.