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News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation into Death of Orillia Cyclist

Case Number: 12-PVD-074

Mississauga (5 April, 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 any criminal offence in relation to the death of 85-year-old David Nesbitt in March of 2012.

The SIU assigned five investigators, two forensic investigators and a collision reconstructionist to probe the circumstances of this incident.  The subject officer did not provide a copy of his duty notes to the SIU and declined to be interviewed, as is his legal right.  Four witness officers and seven civilian witnesses were interviewed.

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Tuesday, March 13:
• At approximately 4:30 p.m., Mr. Nesbitt purchased some groceries at a plaza on Atherley Road in Orillia.  Near the Giant Tiger exit, he mounted his bicycle and set out to cross Atherley Road in a southerly direction. 
• In the meantime, the subject officer was driving an unmarked black OPP SUV at approximately 60 km/hr in a westerly direction along Atherley Road. 
• Atherley Road has a posted speed limit of 50 km/hr.  The road was dry and in good condition.  There was no crosswalk or traffic signals in the vicinity.
• Mr. Nesbitt rode directly in front of the SUV causing it to suddenly brake and steer to the left.  Unfortunately, the subject officer could not avoid a direct impact with the bicyclist. 
• Mr. Nesbitt was rendered unconscious as a result of the impact, transported initially to Soldier’s Memorial Hospital and then airlifted to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, where he succumbed to his injuries three days later.   

Director Scott said, “There is no evidence gathered in this investigation to suggest that the subject officer was driving in a dangerous manner.  Even though his speed was slightly above the speed limit, he could not have reasonably foreseen that a bicyclist would be crossing Atherley Road at this location.  Although the death of Mr. Nesbitt is tragic, in my view, the subject officer cannot be held criminally liable for this outcome.”

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, monica.hudon@ontario.ca
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342