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News Release

SIU Concludes Vehicle Injuries Investigation near North Bay

Case Number: 12-OVI-258

Mississauga (27 September, 2012) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ian Scott, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge a West Nipissing Police Service (WNPS) officer with any criminal offence in relation to the injuries sustained by a 38-year-old man in September of 2012.

The SIU assigned three investigators and two forensic investigators to probe the circumstances of this incident.  In addition, two witness officers and three civilian witnesses were interviewed.  The subject officer submitted to an SIU interview and provided a copy of his duty notes. 

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Wednesday, September 5:
• In the early hours of September 5th, the subject officer received information that a man in a green Mercury Sable sedan was intent on killing himself by driving into a truck or a rock cut.  The officer saw the vehicle in question traveling eastbound on Highway 17 from Sturgeon Falls toward North Bay.  It was being followed by another police cruiser.  As the man’s vehicle began to increase its speed, both cruisers activated their emergency equipment.  The officers were about to effect a ‘tandem stop’ of the vehicle when the subject officer observed the man take evasive action and nearly strike his cruiser.  The tandem stop technique involves one police vehicle ahead of the suspect vehicle and one behind it to restrict the suspect vehicle’s forward and lateral movements. 
• The man drove through two red traffic lights and continued east on Highway 17 at a high rate of speed.
• A second attempt was made to stop the man using the tandem stop technique, but he was able to take evasive action and again nearly caused a collision between his vehicle and the subject officer’s cruiser. 
• The subject officer backed off and allowed the man to pass. He continued to follow at speeds of up to 160 km/h, while remaining a distance of approximately 600 metres behind the vehicle.
• Suddenly, the man’s vehicle veered at a high rate of speed to the left, and left the roadway.  Smoke and debris emitted from the vehicle as it went across the roadway and slammed into a rock cut.  The vehicle came to a rest with its roof against the rock cut, in a vertical position.  The subject officer stopped his police cruiser, and approached the man who was conscious and seat-belted into his vehicle. 
• The man was extricated from his vehicle and transported to North Bay Regional Health Centre where he was treated for a fractured right ankle and numerous soft tissue injuries. His vehicle was destroyed in the collision.

A subsequent forensic accident reconstruction report concluded that the man’s vehicle left the roadway immediately before striking the rock cut at a speed between 138 and 159 km/hr.  Further, there was no suggestion that there was any contact between either police vehicle and the complainant’s vehicle.

Director Scott said, “In my view, the subject officer had the lawful authority to enter into a suspect apprehension pursuit pursuant to the Police Services Act -  based upon the information he received, he had reason to believe that the man might imminently commit a criminal act by driving his vehicle into a truck.  With this information and his observations of the man’s dangerous driving, the officer could further reasonably conclude that he should continue the pursuit.  It would appear that the man made a deliberate decision to attempt to end his life by driving into a rock cut at excessive speed.  The subject officer cannot be held criminally liable for this regrettable decision by the man.  Fortunately, the man survived and caused only relatively minor injuries to himself.”                  

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