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News Release

SIU Concludes Highway 401 Vehicle Injury Investigation

Case Number: 12-PVI-061

Mississauga (29 March, 2012) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ian Scott, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer with the Northumberland detachment with any criminal offence in relation to the injuries sustained by 31-year-old Adam Oakes in February of 2012.

The SIU assigned three investigators, two forensic investigators and a collision reconstructionist to probe the circumstances of this incident.  The subject officer was interviewed, as were two witness officers.  In addition, eight civilian witnesses provided statements to investigators.

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Wednesday, February 22:
• At approximately 1:00 p.m., the subject officer was operating an unmarked cruiser on Hwy 401 eastbound in the Cobourg area.  He was notified that a white Chevrolet Cavalier was travelling eastbound just ahead of him with unauthorized licence plates.
• The officer located the vehicle, activated his emergency lights and signalled for the driver of the Cavalier to pull over to the shoulder.  The driver, Mr. Oakes, began accelerating away from the subject officer.  The officer activated his siren and began a suspect apprehension pursuit.
• Mr. Oakes drove his vehicle in a reckless manner at high speeds, sometimes driving on the soft shoulder and other times on the central median.
• At the Lake Road overpass in the Township of Cramahe, the Cavalier swerved off the road and struck the steel guard rail surrounding the concrete pillars of a bridge abutment on the south side. It then slid across the road and struck the concrete centre median on the north side before coming to a rest.
• The pursuit took place over a distance of 25 kilometres over a time span of 10-12 minutes.
• Mr. Oakes was taken to Trenton Memorial Hospital where he was diagnosed as sustaining a fractured right scapula, lacerations and abrasions to the scalp, and a pulmonary contusion.     

Director Scott said, “In my view, the subject officer had the lawful authority to initiate a suspect apprehension pursuit under the regulation to the Police Services Act for the purpose of motor vehicle identification of a fleeing vehicle.  Mr. Oakes chose to initially flee and continued to flee.  There is no suggestion of contact between the pursued and pursuing vehicles. Mr. Oakes chose to drive in such a manner that he caused his vehicle to crash into a guard rail leading to significant personal injuries. The subject officer cannot be held criminally liable for the results of the complainant’s dangerous driving.”

Director Scott added, “As mentioned earlier, the Cavalier struck the steel guard rail on the south side of the highway, and then slid across the road and struck the concrete centre median on the north side before coming to rest.  Because of this, both lanes were closed until 11:00 p.m. that night.  Allowing traffic through while the scene was being examined would have contaminated the scene and risked the safety of those doing an investigation.  While I acknowledge this highway closure may have caused hardship for motorists, it was necessary to ensure accurate scene measurements for accident reconstruction information.”

The SIU is an arm’s length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault. Under the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU must

  • consider whether an officer has committed a criminal offence  in connection with the incident under investigation
  • depending on the evidence, lay a criminal charge against the officer if appropriate or close the file without any charges being laid
  • report the results of any investigations to the Attorney General. 

Monica Hudon,
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342