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News Release

No Charges Warranted in Vehicle Collision that Resulted in Deaths of Two Individuals, and Injuries to Another

Case Number: 16-OVD-095

Mississauga, ON (17 May, 2017) ---
The Director of the Special Investigations Unit, Tony Loparco, has determined there are no reasonable grounds to lay criminal charges against any Ottawa Police Service (OPS) officer in relation to an April 2016 collision that resulted in the death of a 24-year-old man and the injuries to a 21-year-old female, as well as the death of a 39-year-old man who succumbed to his injuries several months after the incident.

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

The SIU interviewed nine civilian witnesses and five witness officers. The notes of an additional six officers were reviewed. Two officers were designated as subject officers. Neither officer consented to interviews or to the release of their duty notes, as is their legal right.
 
The Unit’s investigation also included the review of video footage from several businesses in the area, as well as City of Ottawa traffic camera videos. The SIU obtained police communications recordings and Automatic Vehicle Location data from the involved police vehicles.

The SIU investigation found the following:
  • Shortly after 1 a.m. on April 12, 2016, SO #1 attempted to stop a vehicle at the intersection of Cumberland Street and George Street for a provincial matter. This information was broadcasted over the radio, and SO #1 requested the assistance of another officer. 
  • With emergency equipment activated, both subject officers in separate police cruisers pursued the vehicle as it traveled east on Rideau Street. The 39-year-old driver of the vehicle was driving at approximately 60 km/h and was not stopping at red lights at signaled intersections. 
  • Thirty-two seconds after SO #1 first broadcast details concerning the driver’s flight, a road Sergeant ordered that the pursuit be terminated. SO #2 came to a stop at Rideau Street and Augusta Street (approximately 830 metres from the point of the initial traffic stop), and SO #1 came to a stop near the intersection of Rideau Street and Chapel Street (approximately 700 metres from the point of the initial traffic stop). 
  • The driver of the vehicle continued to flee at a high rate of speed. He continued eastbound on Rideau Street, taking Cummings Bridge over the Rideau River. At the end of the bridge, the driver continued at a high rate of speed and, without slowing down, made a right hand turn through a red light onto southbound North River Road. He sped along until he came to the signaled intersection at McArthur Avenue. He again drove through a red light at a high rate of speed and made a left hand turn onto eastbound McArthur Avenue. The driver continued towards the Vanier Parkway, which is also a signaled intersection. He entered the intersection against a red light, and struck another vehicle that was travelling southbound. 
  • The 24-year-old driver of the vehicle that had been struck succumbed to his injuries, and his 21-year-old passenger sustained serious injuries.
  • The driver of the vehicle which was initially being pursued died in hospital in December 2016, months after the incident.

Director Loparco said, “There is no basis whatsoever to hold either of the two subject officers responsible for the terrible outcomes of the motor vehicle collision. The pursuit was short-lived, having been terminated by the road Sergeant. The driver operated his vehicle at hazardous speeds through multiple red lights for over 1.47 km with no one following him. He showed a wanton and reckless disregard for all other people using the roadway. As a result of the prudent decision of the road Sergeant, the two subject officers cannot be said to have causally contributed to the collision in a legal sense. Consequently, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that an offence has been committed, and no charges will issue.”  

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