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News Release

No Charges Warranted after Man Drives off Highway In Middlesex County

Case Number: 15-PVI-308

Mississauga, ON (28 September, 2016) ---
The Director of the Special Investigations Unit, Tony Loparco, has determined there are no reasonable grounds to lay criminal charges against an Ontario Provincial Police officer in relation to the vehicle injuries sustained by a 40-year-old man in December of 2015 in Middlesex County.  

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

The SIU interviewed two civilian witnesses and four witness officers. The subject officer provided a copy of his duty notes, but did not participate in an SIU interview, as is his legal right.
The Unit’s investigation also included a review of communication recordings and CCTV data from traffic monitoring equipment in the vicinity of the relevant routes. Collision reconstruction data was collected and analyzed.

The SIU investigation found the following:
  • In the evening hours of December 19, 2015, a civilian called 911 to report that there was a potentially impaired driver on eastbound County Road 14 heading towards highway 402. The civilian had observed a motor vehicle travelling at an excessive rate of speed and swerving on the roadway to the point of almost striking other vehicles. 
  • Two marked OPP vehicles pulled onto Highway 402 and managed to get the man to pull over on the shoulder of the road. The subject officer approached the driver’s window. He spoke to the man who had a strong odour of an alcoholic beverage about him, and displayed slurred and exaggerated speech and glassy eyes. Based on this information, the officer demanded the man provide a breath sample into a roadside device. The other officer, who had been standing on the passenger side of the man’s vehicle, joined the subject officer on the driver’s side of the vehicle. All of a sudden, the subject officer pushed the second officer out of the way as the driver of the vehicle accelerated away at a high rate of speed. The vehicle brushed against the subject officer’s leg as the driver sped off. 
  • The second officer ran to his police vehicle and engaged in a pursuit with his emergency equipment activated. The officer caught up to the driver on the Wellington Road overpass of Highway 401. The officer estimated the man’s speed to be approximately 140-150 km/h. Upon obtaining the car’s licence plate number, the officer disengaged from the pursuit by slowing to approximately 120 km/h, turning off his lights and sirens, and relaying the licence plate information to the dispatcher. The man kept driving and disappeared from sight. 
  • A short time later, the man proceeded to exit Highway 401 onto Veterans Memorial Parkway at a high rate of speed. Suddenly, he lost control of his vehicle and drove off the roadway and onto a steep embankment. He had been travelling at 59 km/h on a ramp with a suggested speed limit of 40 km/h.
  • The subject officer arrived in the area between 30-60 seconds after the collision. He was waved down by a civilian who had observed the man drive off of the road. The subject officer climbed down the embankment to tend to the man, who had been thrown between 25 and 30 feet from his vehicle. Approximately two minutes later, more officers arrived.
  • The man was transported to hospital by paramedics where he was diagnosed with severe injuries.
Director Loparco said, “The subject officer affected a valid roadside stop after receiving information respecting a potentially impaired driver. From there, he conducted a proper roadside investigation and made a lawful breath demand premised on reasonable suspicion. The man chose to respond to this lawful investigation by fleeing from the police. The man’s actions were clearly directed to avoiding criminal liability. He fled at a dangerous rate of speed with zero regard for other people using the highway. The subject officer had no other interaction with the man until he arrived at the scene of the collision. There is no evidentiary basis to conclude that the man’s injuries are attributable to the actions of the subject officer.”

Director Loparco continued, “While not the subject of this Unit's investigation, there is similarly no basis to impugn the pursuing officer's conduct. He acted professionally and responsibly in the circumstances. The officer engaged in what in essence was a brief suspect apprehension pursuit, but disengaged after he obtained the man’s licence plate. His decisions to both engage and later disengage from the pursuit were well-founded on the facts.  The officer was entitled to pursue the man both because he had believed he had committed a criminal offence and because he was seeking to identify the motor vehicle. In the circumstances, it was appropriate for the officer to discontinue the pursuit in the name of public safety.”  

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. 

Lisez ce communiqué en français.

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