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News Release

SIU Concludes Welland Vehicle Injuries Investigation

Case Number: 13-OVI-222

Mississauga (1 November, 2013) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Tony Loparco, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge a Niagara Regional Police Service officer with any criminal offence in relation to the injuries sustained by an 18-year-old man in September of 2013.

The SIU assigned four investigators and two forensic investigators to probe the circumstances of this incident. As part of the investigation, three witness officers and nine civilian witnesses were interviewed. The subject officer consented to an interview with the SIU but declined to provide a copy of her duty notes, as is her legal right. 

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Wednesday, September 4, 2013:
• Just before 10 p.m., the subject officer was on patrol in a marked police vehicle when she pulled over a Jeep Liberty on Prince Charles Drive. The officer had just run the vehicle’s plates on her computer and learned they ought not to have been on the vehicle.
• The officer exited her vehicle and approached the driver’s side door of the Jeep. The driver refused to roll down his window, and instead accelerated away turning eastbound onto Thorold Road. The officer re-entered her vehicle and followed the Jeep with emergency lights activated.
• At the intersection of Thorold Road and First Avenue, the driver of the Jeep disregarded the red light and struck a cyclist who was proceeding northbound at the time. The driver continued his flight eastbound, losing control of the vehicle and careening into a gas station pump. He fled from the vehicle but was subsequently located and arrested.
• The injured cyclist was airlifted to Hamilton General Hospital for treatment of serious injuries including a fractured femur and fractured clavicle.

Director Loparco said, “The entire transaction happened very quickly in time and distance.  Aside from being the trigger for the Jeep driver’s reckless flight down Thorold Road, it is difficult to see what, if anything, the subject officer could have done differently. She acted reasonably, in my view, in activating her emergency lights and following the Jeep. It bears noting that the subject officer was well back of the Jeep at the time of the collision and so, for example, it cannot be said that the officer ‘pushed’ the Jeep through the intersection or otherwise fuelled his reckless behavior by being right on his tail. There is simply nothing in her conduct during this brief period of time that would attract criminal sanction.”

The SIU is a civilian agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or an allegation 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 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