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News Release

No Criminal Wrongdoing in Oxford County Highway 401 Collision

Case Number: 15-PVI-280

Mississauga, ON (19 September, 2016) ---
The Acting Director of the Special Investigations Unit, Joseph Martino, has determined there are no reasonable grounds to lay criminal charges against an Ontario Provincial Police officer in relation to the injuries sustained by an 18-year-old female passenger of a vehicle involved in a collision in November of 2015 in Oxford County.  

Six investigators and two forensic investigators were assigned to this incident.

The SIU interviewed seven civilian witnesses, including three of the four occupants of the vehicle in question, and one witness officer. The injured woman was unable to take part in an interview. The subject officer participated in an SIU interview but did not provide a copy of his duty notes, as is his legal right.
The Unit’s investigation also included review of a collision reconstruction report and GPS data.

The SIU investigation found the following:
  • On November 19, 2015, the subject officer was operating an OPP cruiser and performing speed enforcement on Highway 401. 
  • Shortly before midnight, the officer clocked a Toyota Corolla on his radar proceeding eastbound upwards of 150 km/h. The officer pulled in behind the vehicle and activated his emergency lighting. In an attempt to get the Corolla to pull over onto the south shoulder, the officer straddled the passing and middle lanes with his cruiser. Several kilometres west of Sweaburg Road, the officer maneuvered his cruiser to the south shoulder. However, the Corolla driver brought her vehicle to a stop on the north shoulder. Following a brief period during which the vehicles were at a standstill, essentially across from one another on both sides of the highway, the driver of the Corolla decided to re-enter the highway so as to re-position her vehicle on the south shoulder. The Corolla turned sharply to the right from the shoulder and entered the passing lane of the highway where its rear passenger side was broadsided by an eastbound Sonata, and then struck again by another eastbound vehicle.  
  • The 18-year-old passenger in the Corolla suffered serious internal injuries and broken ribs.  

Acting Director Joseph Martino said, “The offences that arise for consideration are criminal negligence causing bodily harm and dangerous driving pursuant to sections 221 and 249 of the Criminal Code, respectively. Liability under both offences is predicated on conduct that amounts to a marked departure from a reasonable level of care in the circumstances. 

“The subject officer was acting lawfully when he attempted to pull the Corolla over for speeding. Thereafter, I am satisfied the officer did what he could to ensure the stop was executed in a safe manner. He activated his emergency lights and fell in behind the Corolla, leaving the driver ample room to bring the Corolla to a safe stop. Though the officer endeavoured to coax the Corolla onto the south shoulder, the driver of the Corolla believed it was her legal obligation to pull onto the nearest shoulder and brought her vehicle to a stop on the north shoulder. Having then changed her mind, deciding to bring the vehicle onto the south shoulder, it was incumbent on the driver of the Corolla to do so safely. She fell short in that duty by failing to keep a proper lookout and performing a dangerous maneuver into live lanes of traffic. In the circumstances, the accident occurring shortly after the Corolla came to a stop on the north shoulder, it appears there was little if anything the subject officer could have done to prevent the collision. On this record, I am satisfied on reasonable grounds that the care exercised by the officer fell within the limits prescribed by the criminal law and there are therefore no grounds for proceeding with charges in this case.”

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,
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342