SIU Concludes Investigation into Hamilton Crash
Case Number: 07-OVD-167
Other News Releases Related to Case 07-OVD-167
The SIU assigned five investigators, three forensic identification technicians and an accident reconstructionist to investigate this incident.
In the early morning hours of August 18, 2007 an HPS officer was conducting speed enforcement duties near Main St. and Gage Ave. in Hamilton. He saw a car travelling well in excess of the posted speed limit. The officer drove onto Main Street and began to follow the car, with his emergency lights and his siren activated. The driver of the car turned right and travelled south on Gage Street. As the officer turned onto Gage Street to follow the car he saw that the car was already approaching the traffic lights at Cumberland Road.
As the officer approached Cumberland Road he radioed police communications to advise that he was pursuing a car. The officer lost sight of the car as it negotiated a left hand turn onto Lawrence Road. The officer was travelling along Gage Avenue at speeds between 80 km/hr to 90 km/hr and never closed the distance between him and the pursued car.
When the officer arrived onto Lawrence Road he could only see the taillights of the car in the distance. As the officer approached Kenilworth Avenue he began to slow down and at Rosedale Road he turned off his emergency equipment and stopped. He advised dispatch that he was terminating the pursuit as he had lost sight of the car.
The driver of the Mercedes continued and drove faster than the performance capability of his vehicle. The car became involved in a collision. The car, which was travelling in excess of 160 km/h at the time the driver lost control, left the roadway and struck two trees. The car then collided into the wall of a townhouse with a great deal of force. The driver and one of the two passengers were killed in the collision. The other passenger was taken to Hamilton General Hospital with serious injuries.
Director Cornish said, "The officer himself decided to terminate the pursuit and he communicated that fact to communications as well as to the supervisor. There is no evidence that the officer's cruiser ever made contact with the fleeing car. Also, there is no evidence to indicate that the police officer was following the fleeing motorist so closely or so aggressively that he gave the fleeing driver no real chance to safely stop his vehicle.
Director Cornish concluded, "I am of the view that the officers' driving, as disclosed by the evidence, does not amount to a marked departure from the standard of care of a reasonable person."
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.