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News Release

SIU Concludes Vehicle Injuries Investigation near Perth

Case Number: 13-PVI-093

Mississauga (5 June, 2013) --- The Acting Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Joseph Martino, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge any Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer with a criminal offence in relation to the injuries sustained by three males – ages 14, 17 and 19 - in April of 2013.

The SIU assigned four investigators, three forensic investigators and a collision reconstructionist to probe the circumstances of this incident. As part of the investigation, three witness officers and nine civilian witnesses were interviewed. The subject officers declined the SIU’s request to be interviewed and to provide copies of their duty notes, as is their legal right.

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Wednesday, April 10:
• Shortly after 1 a.m., near the intersection of Wilson Street and Isabella Street in the Town of Perth, one of the subject officers approached a stationary Honda vehicle being operated by the 17-year-old. The 14 and 19-year-olds were also in the vehicle. The officer was investigating a complaint by a resident of suspicious activity by persons outside her home.
• The officer asked for the driver’s licence, ownership and insurance documents. Unknown to the officer at the time, the vehicle had been stolen several days earlier. Before the theft was discovered, the driver accelerated away from the officer and eventually made his way onto North Street, where he continued to drive eastbound.
• The officer quickly re-entered his cruiser and followed in pursuit. The second subject officer and another officer joined the pursuit in separate cruisers at the intersection of Drummond Street and North Street as the Honda vehicle sped past them.
• A sergeant took command of the pursuit and continued to monitor the situation from the communications centre. Concerned about the excessive speeds, the wet roads and possible wildlife crossing the road, the sergeant ordered the pursuit terminated. The subject officers stopped their vehicles and reported their mileage.
• Around the same time, the driver of the Honda failed to negotiate a leftward bend in the road and lost control of the vehicle. It careened across the roadway, struck and broke a utility pole and came to rest in a field on the north side of the road.
• All three young men suffered serious injuries as a result of the collision. The 17-year-old driver sustained a concussion and a laceration of his right kidney. The 14-year old sustained a head injury and the 19-year-old sustained an injury to his jaw.

Acting Director Martino said, “The first subject officer had good cause to commence the pursuit.  The young men in the vehicle loosely fit the description of prowlers in the area whom a resident had described moments beforehand in a complaint to the police.  His suspicions that the young men were engaged in criminal activity would have been further heightened when the driver took off in the vehicle instead of handing over the documents requested. While the vehicles reached substantial speeds at times during the pursuit, doubling the speed limit of 80 km/h on County Road 10, most of this occurred outside of the town’s limits on a rural road. In fact, it does not appear that any third parties were ever actually placed in any danger as a result of the pursuit. When it appeared to the sergeant in overall command of the pursuit that the risk to public safety was beginning to outweigh the need to apprehend the occupants of the vehicle, in light of the wet roads and the speeds, he ordered the pursuit terminated. In my view, the sergeant acted reasonably in so doing. The evidence establishes that the officers complied with the order, shut down their emergency equipment and pulled over before proceeding at a moderate pace down the roadway, where they encountered the collision scene located approximately 11 kilometres from Perth.

“In the final analysis, I am satisfied on reasonable grounds that the officers exercised a level of care well within the limits prescribed by the criminal law, and that the collision occurred just after the pursuit had been terminated as a result of the continued reckless operation of the Honda vehicle.”      

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