SIU Concludes Investigation into Vehicle Injuries Sustained by Man in Huron County
Case Number: 14-PVI-274
Mississauga (19 August, 2015) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Tony Loparco, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer with any criminal offence in relation to the injuries sustained by 29-year-old Anthony Dillon near Wroxeter in December of 2014.
The SIU assigned four investigators, two forensic investigators and one collision reconstructionist to probe the circumstances of this incident. As part of the investigation, two civilian witnesses and three witness officers were interviewed. The subject officer did not provide a copy of his duty notes and did not consent to an interview with the SIU, as is his legal right.
The SIU investigation found that the following events took place during the late evening of December 4 and the early morning of December 5, 2014:
- Mr. Dillon was reportedly driving a stolen Pontiac Grand Prix with an obscured licence plate in rural South Bruce. When an OPP officer attempted to pull over the Grand Prix in order to identify the driver and investigate the reason for his presence in the area, Mr. Dillon took off at speeds of 148 km/h or more.
- The officer followed the Grand Prix for approximately one minute before abandoning the pursuit and stopping his cruiser.
- The officer radioed in an alert for officers in neighbouring Huron County to be on the lookout for the vehicle. A supervisor in Huron County assigned the subject officer and another officer to investigate. They spotted the car near Wroxeter approximately 90 minutes after the first officer lost sight of it. As soon as they activated their emergency lights, Mr. Dillon fled and the police followed the vehicle.
- The subject officer kept the supervisor informed about his speed, location, and road conditions. The roads were clear and dry, and there was good visibility until Mr. Dillon turned southbound onto the gravel McDonald Line. Dust from his vehicle impaired the officer’s view and upon becoming aware of this, the supervisor halted the pursuit. The subject officer stopped his vehicle and recorded his mileage as per policy.
- Mr. Dillon continued speeding down the road at a speed estimated conservatively at 40 km/h over the speed limit.
- When Mr. Dillon tried to make the right curve at C Line Road, the centrifugal force caused his car to spin out of control. His vehicle collided with a hydro pole and broke into pieces. Mr. Dillon was ejected from the wreckage.
- Mr. Dillon was initially treated at Wingham Hospital and later transferred to London Health Sciences Centre where he was diagnosed with fractures to his spine and skull.
Director Loparco said, “The criminal offence that arises for consideration is dangerous driving contrary to s. 249 of the Criminal Code. I am satisfied that there are no reasonable grounds to lay such a charge. The subject officer strictly complied with the policy related to suspect apprehension pursuits. He had a lawful basis for engaging in the pursuit, as Mr. Dillon was speeding and had not yet been identified. He provided all requisite information to the supervising officer during the event. Given the dry and empty roads during this nighttime chase, one cannot say that the subject officer’s act of driving more than 120 km/h in an 80 km/h zone for a short period, and otherwise authorized under the Highway Traffic Act, amounted to a marked departure from the standard of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the circumstances. He was at these speeds for a matter of seconds and he slowed down when conditions worsened. When a supervisor called off the pursuit, the subject officer complied immediately, as was demonstrated by the communications record and his police cruiser’s GPS data.”
Director Loparco concluded, “In the end, Mr. Dillon’s injuries resulted from his decision once again to drive recklessly away from an officer on a dirt road well after the second pursuit had been called off. There are therefore no reasonable grounds to believe that the subject officer acted in a dangerous or reckless manner during the pursuit and no charges will issue.”
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.
Monica Hudon, 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