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News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation in Sault Ste. Marie Collision

Case Number: 14-OVI-166

Mississauga (11 September, 2014) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Tony Loparco, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge a Sault Ste. Marie Police Service (SSMPS) officer with any criminal offence in relation to the vehicle injury sustained by a 26-year-old man in July of this year.

The SIU assigned three investigators and one forensic investigator to probe the circumstances of this incident.  Two witness officers and two civilian witnesses were interviewed.  The subject officer did not consent to an interview or provide a copy of his duty notes, as is his legal right. 

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Tuesday, July 22, 2014:

  • Just before 3:30 a.m. that morning, the subject officer and a witness officer were on patrol in a marked cruiser.
  • The subject officer observed a red Dodge Journey vehicle in the LCBO parking lot next to the Walmart off of Great Northern Road. 
  • The vehicle piqued the subject officer’s suspicion and he decided to stop it for further investigation.
  • Though the officers did not know it at the time, the red vehicle was in fact stolen.  
  • The man was behind the wheel of the Dodge Journey and was driving away through the parking lot onto Second Line East when he observed a police cruiser behind him.  
  • He began to accelerate and proceeded eastbound across Second Line East.  
  • As he approached the intersection of Second Line East with Black Road, about two kilometres from the Walmart, he lost control of the vehicle while trying to negotiate a right hand turn.  
  • The vehicle careened into the field along the east side of Black Road.  The subject officer and the witness officer soon arrived and arrested the man. 
  • While at the police station it was discovered that the complainant had suffered a serious injury. He was transported to Sault Area Hospital where he was diagnosed with a fracture to his right pelvis.

 

Director Loparco concluded, “It is unclear what exactly first drew the subject officer’s attention to the vehicle.  However, short of arrest or detention, police officers are entitled to act on their instincts and intuition. That is precisely what occurred here.  The officer’s suspicions, as it turns out, proved incisive – the vehicle was in fact stolen.

“It is clear to me on this evidence that the subject officer conducted himself lawfully throughout his brief engagement with the man. The subject officer was within his rights to want to stop the red vehicle for investigation.  He was further within his rights to want to investigate its driver as he observed it disobey one or more stop signs within the Walmart parking lot.  The evidence establishes that he was never very close to the Dodge Journey and that he broke off active pursuit of the vehicle as soon as it became obvious that the man was not going to stop.  The man did not respond in kind even though he had every opportunity to bring his speed down and proceed safely on his way.  I am satisfied in these circumstances that the 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, jasbir.dhillon@ontario.ca
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342