SIU Concludes Investigation in Ajax Vehicle Injuries
Case Number: 14-OVI-012
Other News Releases Related to Case 14-OVI-012
The Acting Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Joseph Martino, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge a Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS) officer with any criminal offence in relation to the vehicle injuries sustained by a 20-year-old man in January of this year.
The SIU assigned five investigators, four forensic investigators and a collision reconstructionist to probe the circumstances of this incident. As part of the investigation, five witness officers and two civilian witnesses were interviewed. The subject officer interviewed with the SIU but did not provide a copy of his duty notes, as is his legal right. SIU forensic investigators photographed the scene and took measurements for forensic mapping purposes.
The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Tuesday, January 14, 2014:
- At approximately 3:00 a.m., the subject officer and his partner were in a marked police cruiser conducting a routine patrol.
- The subject officer was merging onto eastbound traffic on Highway 401 from Whites Road when he observed a dark coloured Nissan also travelling eastbound in the centre lane.
- He believed the Nissan was travelling at about 120-130 km/h, had only its daytime running lights on and no rear lights.
- The subject officer maneuvered his cruiser to a position about 200 metres behind the Nissan and noticed it had only one occupant – the driver.
- A check of the Nissan’s license plate indicated that it had been the subject of a couple of investigative queries by the Toronto Police Service over the last 48 hours.
- The subject officer suspected that the vehicle might be stolen and decided to stop it.
- At about this time, just west of Brock Road, the Nissan picked up its speed and began to accelerate away from the cruiser.
- The subject officer was about 800 metres behind the Nissan when he observed it take the off-ramp to Westney Road. The Nissan travelled through a red light at the intersection of the off-ramp and Westney Road, and accelerated north on Westney Road.
- The subject officer advised the communications centre that he was following a possibly stolen vehicle and requested the assistance of other officers.
- He took the Westney Road off-ramp, brought his cruiser to a stop and then proceeded through the intersection when it was safe to do so.
- Having cleared the intersection, he continued to follow the Nissan.
- The Nissan turned right onto eastbound Ritchie Avenue, about 500 metres north of the cruiser, and accelerated eastbound.
- The subject officer followed course and turned right onto Ritchie Avenue. By now, the Nissan was some 500 – 700 metres east of him. He saw the Nissan proceed through the intersection on Ritchie Avenue past Knapton Avenue, and then lost sight of it as it followed a northward bend in the road.
- The subject officer continued east on Ritchie Avenue. As he approached the Kingston Road intersection, he saw the flashing lights of other DRPS cruisers stopped in the area and parked his vehicle on the west side of Chapman Avenue (the same road as Ritchie Avenue) north of Kingston Road.
- He saw the Nissan he had been following further north on its roof. It had collided with another vehicle – an Acura – which was stationary on the west side of Chapman Road north of the Kingston Road intersection.
- The driver of the Nissan suffered catastrophic injuries in the collision. The driver of the Acura suffered minor injuries only.
Acting Director Martino concluded, “In my view, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the subject officer committed a criminal offence in connection with the serious injuries suffered by the complainant who was the driver of the Nissan. The subject officer had reasonable cause to believe that the complainant was implicated in criminal activity and was therefore within his rights to attempt to stop the Nissan. As an officer engaged in the execution of his duties, he was also exempt from the speed limits by virtue of section 128(13)(b) of the Highway Traffic Act. The weather was clear and the roads were dry. Given the time of day, the roadways would have been lightly travelled and, indeed, there is no evidence to suggest that the subject officer’s driving actually imperiled motorists around him. Moreover, it does not appear that the subject officer unduly pushed the Nissan. On the contrary, given the significant distances that existed between the vehicles throughout their engagement – about 200 metres when the Nissan first started to accelerate away from the cruiser and thereafter no closer than about 400 metres – it is clear to me that the complainant had every opportunity to safely desist from his course had he been so inclined. On this record, I am persuaded on balance that the subject officer comported himself within the limits prescribed by the criminal law”
The SIU is an independent civilian 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.
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342