SIU Investigation into Whitby Collision Finds Charges not Warranted
Case Number: 15-OVI-295
Other News Releases Related to Case 15-OVI-295
(21 October, 2016) ---
The Director of the Special Investigations Unit, Tony Loparco, has determined there are no reasonable grounds to lay criminal charges against a Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS) officer in relation to the vehicle injuries sustained by a 25-year-old woman in December of 2015 in Whitby.
Five investigators, two forensic investigators and one collision reconstructionist were assigned to this incident.
The SIU interviewed four civilian witnesses and one witness officer. 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 the review of CCTV footage, Automated Vehicle Locating data for the subject officer’s vehicle, Crash Data Retrieval reports and a collision reconstruction report.
The SIU investigation found the following:
- In the early morning hours of December 6, 2015, the subject officer was patrolling for impaired drivers while operating an unmarked police vehicle.
- At approximately 2 a.m., the officer saw an Acura exit a large retail complex and then turn north onto Hopkins Street. Because the complex contained several licensed establishments, the officer decided to stop the Acura in order to perform a sobriety check on the driver.
- The officer activated his emergency lights, pulled in behind the driver and watched as the Acura turned right onto Consumers Drive. The driver continued at slow speed east before turning into the plaza parking lot at Sunray Street. The driver of the Acura failed to stop for a stop sign in the parking lot. The Acura exited back onto Consumers Drive, this time picking up speed as it accelerated eastbound away from the subject officer. The officer pursued the Acura.
- At the Thickson Road intersection, the driver of the Acura went through a red light, colliding with a Mazda traveling northbound.
- The 25-year-old female driver of the Mazda suffered several serious injuries. The driver of the Acura fled the scene by foot.
Director Loparco said, “The offences that arise for consideration are dangerous driving and criminal negligence causing bodily harm contrary to section 249 and 221 of the Criminal Code, respectively. The former offence is predicated on conduct that amounts to a marked departure from a reasonable level of care in the circumstances, and the latter requires a marked and substantial departure.
“Despite the serious consequences of the Acura going through the red light, there is no evidence to suggest that the subject officer was himself a danger to vehicular or pedestrian traffic at any point during the course of events. In fact, traffic appears to have been light at the time and there is no indication that the officer prevented the driver from coming to a safe stop had he been so inclined. Nor did the environmental conditions aggravate the dangers inherent in any police pursuit; the roads were dry, the weather was clear and visibility was good. Also important was the officer’s prudent use of his siren and emergency lights, and the short-lived nature of the pursuit which lasted no more than several hundred metres over a matter of seconds.”
Director Loparco concluded, “In the final analysis, I am satisfied on this record that the subject officer was acting lawfully when he first attempted to stop the Acura to check its driver for possible impairment and that his conduct thereafter fell within the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law. Accordingly, there are no grounds for proceeding with charges against the officer.”
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.
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Monica Hudon, email@example.com
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342