SIU Concludes Sudbury Vehicle Injuries Investigation
Case Number: 13-OVI-299
(22 July, 2014) ---
The Acting Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Joseph Martino, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge a Greater Sudbury Police Service (GSPS) officer with any criminal offence in relation to the vehicle injuries sustained by a 40-year-old man in December of 2013.
The SIU assigned four investigators, two forensic investigators and a collision reconstructionist to probe the circumstances of this incident. As part of the investigation, six witness officers and one civilian witness were interviewed. The subject officer did not interview with the SIU or provide a copy of his duty notes, as is his legal right. The SIU also obtained and reviewed a copy of the GSPS communications recording and the automated vehicle locater data from the subject officer’s cruiser.
The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Sunday, December 8 2013:
- At approximately 4:50 a.m., the subject officer and a witness officer were travelling eastbound on Kingsway in the area of Barry Downe Road en route to a call regarding a Liquor Licence Act infraction when they came across a van being driven by the man.
- The van fit the description of a vehicle that had moments earlier been broadcast over the police radio as being operated erratically and possibly involved in break and enters.
- The subject officer manoeuvred his cruiser in behind the van westbound on Lasalle Boulevard. In the area of Attlee Avenue, the subject officer activated his emergency lights intending to stop the van for investigation.
- When the man refused to stop, the subject officer initiated a police pursuit.
- The pursuit continued westbound on Lasalle Boulevard at speeds ranging from 60 km/h to 120 km/h.
- It appears that the man sped up as he turned southbound onto Frood Road. For a period, the subject officer seems to have followed suit, accelerating to 120 km/h on Frood Road.
- The man continued to accelerate southbound on Frood Road. In the area of Frood Road and Shevchenko Avenue he lost control, veered across the northbound lane of traffic, mounted the east sidewalk and struck a tree.
- The van sustained catastrophic damage and the man suffered several broken vertebrae.
Acting Director Martino said, “This was a relatively uneventful pursuit until the vehicles made their way onto Frood Road. While the subject officer’s speeds were in excess of 100 km/h at points along Lasalle Boulevard, his speeds were relatively moderate at other times along this stretch of road. Given the time of day, traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian, would have been light. And there is no indication that the pursuit actually endangered anyone in its path. As the vehicles continued southbound on Frood Road, it seems the subject officer was alive to the growing risks to public safety and was thinking about pulling back in anticipation of terminating the pursuit just before the collision. By the time of the collision, the evidence suggests the subject officer’s cruiser was several car lengths behind the van. Regrettably, it appears the man continued to pick up speed and ultimately lost control of the van. In the circumstances, I am satisfied that the subject officer did not drive dangerously or recklessly during the course of this pursuit of some five kilometres, or that he otherwise fuelled a pursuit that placed the lives and safety of the public around it at undue risk. On the contrary, the evidence indicates the subject officer exercised a level of care that fell well within the limits prescribed by the criminal law.
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.
Jasbir Dhillon, firstname.lastname@example.org
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342