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News Release

Criminal Offence Not Committed When York Regional Police Officer Pursued Speeding Car

Case Number: 15-OVD-309

Mississauga, ON (18 October, 2016) ---
A York Regional Police officer who pursued a speeding vehicle that eventually crashed into a ditch, killing the driver, did not commit a criminal offence, according to the Director of the Special Investigations Unit.  

Six investigators, one forensic investigator, and one collision reconstructionist were assigned to this incident.

The SIU interviewed the subject officer but he did not provide a copy of his duty notes, as is his legal right.  Interviews were also conducted with four witness officers and 11 civilian witnesses.

The SIU investigation included 
  • detailed collision reconstruction analysis,
  • review of police radio communications,
  • review of the in-camera video from the subject officer’s cruiser, and
  • review of video captured by Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras in the area of the incident.
 
The SIU investigation found the following:
  • Around 2:00 a.m. on December 20, 2015, the subject officer was parked in the lot of a shopping plaza at Ringwood Road and Main Street in Whitchurch-Stouffville.
  • About 15 minutes later, the officer observed a vehicle travelling at a high rate of speed west along Main Street.
  • The officer drove onto Main Street and had started to follow the vehicle when it made a sharp turn north onto Highway 48.
  • As the subject officer followed the vehicle and travelled north on Highway 48, he activated his emergency lights.  The cruiser reached speeds of 145km/h (in a posted 80 km/h zone). Despite this, the officer was unable to catch up to the vehicle.
  • As the officer passed Bloomington Road, he lost sight of the vehicle as it crested a hill.  After the officer crossed the peak of hill, he spotted the vehicle and watched as it lost control, crossed two lanes of the road, rolled, and slammed into an embankment at Vandorf Sideroad.
  • The subject officer and another officer, who had been alerted to the speeding vehicle and was north of the collision, searched the area and found the man, who had been ejected from the vehicle.
  • Emergency Medical Services attended the scene and the man was pronounced dead.  
  • A post-mortem examination determined that the man died from massive head trauma.  Toxicological analysis revealed a blood alcohol concentration of 228 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood—approaching three times the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle. The driver also had cocaine and marijuana in his system.      
  
SIU Director Tony Loparco said, “Accident reconstruction analysis concluded that the man failed to negotiate a left curve in the road before his vehicle travelled approximately 70 metres across two opposite lanes of traffic and then struck a utility pole.  This launched the car into the air.  It collided with a dirt embankment in a ditch and the man was ejected from the vehicle.  He was not wearing a seatbelt.

“The subject officer did absolutely nothing to contribute to the cause of the collision.  He maintained a substantial distance at all points while following the vehicle, which is evident on the in-car camera video. The man was initially observed travelling at a high rate of speed, increasing his speed after he turned northbound on Highway 48.  The man was already driving at a dangerous speed before the subject officer even activated his roof lights, which would have alerted the man to the police presence.  The subject officer did nothing to exacerbate the man’s pattern of dangerous driving.

“I am satisfied the actions of the subject officer did not constitute a criminal offence and no further action is contemplated.”

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.

Jason Gennaro, jason.gennaro@ontario.ca
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-641-1897 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 1897