SIU Investigation into Mississauga Collision Finds Charges not Warranted
Case Number: 16-OVI-026
Other News Releases Related to Case 16-OVI-026
(30 March, 2017) ---
The Director of the Special Investigations Unit, Tony Loparco, has determined there are no reasonable grounds to lay criminal charges against a Peel Regional Police (PRP) officer in relation to the injuries sustained by two individuals in January of 2016 in Mississauga.
Four investigators and two forensic investigators were assigned to this incident.
The SIU interviewed four civilian witnesses and three witness officers. 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 examination of all vehicles involved, automated vehicle locator and GPS data for the subject officer’s cruiser and communications recordings.
The SIU investigation found the following:
- On the night of January 30, 2016, the subject officer was heading westbound on Burnhamthorpe Road. As the traffic light was red at the intersection of Burnhamthorpe Road and Cawthra Road, the officer’s marked police cruiser was stopped in the middle lane, behind a SUV.
- When the traffic light turned green, the SUV remained stationary for approximately five seconds. The subject officer honked, resulting in the driver slowly proceeding through the intersection well below the speed limit of 60 km/h while other vehicles were passing them in the right lane.
- The subject officer drove up next to the passenger side of the SUV’s window in an attempt to identify the driver. The driver looked straight ahead and did not acknowledge the officer’s presence.
- The subject officer fell back approximately one car length behind the vehicle, which was traveling at a speed of about 40 km/h. When the driver’s side tires began to cross into the eastbound lanes, the officer activated the police cruiser’s emergency lights in order to conduct a traffic stop.
- Within approximately three seconds, the SUV had fully crossed over into oncoming eastbound traffic. Five seconds later, in the area of Burnhamthorpe Road and Central Parkway East, the SUV collided with two vehicles traveling eastbound. Two individuals from one of the vehicles, a 69-year-old man and a 70-year-old woman, sustained serious injuries and were taken to hospital for treatment. The driver of the other vehicle did not sustain injuries.
- The driver of the SUV was also taken to hospital and subsequently arrested.
Director Loparco said, “The question that I must decide is whether anything in the subject officer’s engagement with the SUV prior to the collision amounted to dangerous driving contrary to section 249 of the Criminal Code. This offence requires a marked departure from the standard of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the subject officer’s position. The s. 249 jurisprudence establishes a high threshold for criminal liability to be met. In my view, the evidence does not come close to supporting such a conclusion in this case.”
Director Loparco continued, “The erratic driving of the SUV provided the subject officer the grounds to suspect that it was being driven by a potentially impaired driver. Accordingly, the subject officer had every right to investigate and a duty to attempt to stop the vehicle. There is no evidence to suggest that the police cruiser made any physical contact with the SUV. In addition, the officer’s speed was generally less than 50 km/h on Burnhamthorpe Road, which has a speed limit of 60 km/h at this stretch.
“The officer’s attempt to initiate a routine traffic stop by activating his emergency lights immediately prior to the SUV driving into oncoming traffic was justified and lawful. The unfortunate events that followed were completely unexpected. The actions of the subject officer did nothing to exacerbate the egregiously dangerous situation created by the driver of the SUV. I am satisfied that the conduct of the subject officer fell well within the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law, and therefore bears no criminal liability for the ensuing collisions and civilian injuries.”
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342