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News Release

SIU Concludes Fatal Hamilton Collision Investigation

Case Number: 05-OVD-164

Mississauga (16 December, 2005) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), James Cornish, has concluded that a Hamilton Police Service (HPS) officer is not criminally responsible for a collision that resulted in the death of one man and serious injuries to another man.

On October 20, 2005, an HPS officer was pursuing a Volvo car that struck two other cars on the Lincoln Alexander Parkway in Hamilton. The driver of the pursued car, 52-year-old Stephen Lawrence, was pronounced dead at hospital. Two other people were taken to hospital, one with serious injuries and the other with minor injuries.

The SIU investigation determined that at 6:34 p.m., an HPS officer was responding to a personal injury motor vehicle collision in Dundas and drove along Upper Wentworth Street toward the Lincoln Alexander Parkway. The officer saw a black Volvo driving in an unusual manner on Upper Wentworth and followed the car onto the Parkway. In the area of Upper Gage Avenue and Upper Ottawa Street, the officer attempted to stop the Volvo for a traffic stop and turned on the cruiser's emergency lights, later followed with the siren. The Volvo did not stop and accelerated away eastbound on the Parkway.

The officer radioed the communications centre he had a car refusing to stop. In the area of Dartnell Road, the Volvo lost control on a bend in the road and collided with a westbound Volkswagen Jetta. The impact caused the Volvo to spin and slide sideways into the westbound lane where it struck a Pontiac Tempest, which was traveling westbound. The Volvo then mounted a concrete barrier and slid to a stop.

The duration of the pursuit was 28 seconds and it covered a distance of about 6 kilometres.

Based on the totality of the evidence, Director Cornish concluded the subject officer did not cause this tragedy. He stated, "The involved officer received the appropriate training in vehicle apprehensions and was indeed alive to safety issues. It must be remembered that this situation unfolded in a matter of seconds, over a relatively short distance and in the context of an emotionally charged situation."

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