SIU Concludes Investigation into the Collision Death of a Markham Woman in York Region
Case Number: 08-OVD-191
Other News Releases Related to Case 08-OVD-191
At approximately 2 p.m. on Tuesday September 16, 2008, 52-year-old Sara Foy was killed when her minivan struck a dump truck at the intersection of Reesor Road and Highway 7. The SIU investigation found that York Regional Police had received several reports of a possible impaired driver in the area of Steeles Avenue and Reesor Road. One of the calls included a near collision on Reesor Road south of Highway 7; in fact, officers were investigating that scene when the wanted driver drove past them.
The officers followed the minivan to the intersection of Highway 7 where Ms. Foy entered the intersection on a red light and turned right, causing a transport truck to veer into the opposite lane to avoid a collision. The officers continued to follow, but they discontinued the pursuit as instructed by their communications supervisor.
Police observed the minivan once again, this time westbound on Steeles Avenue approaching Reesor Road where it struck the rear of a cruiser, which had attempted to block the vehicle's path. Officers followed but once again called off the pursuit when it was considered too dangerous to continue. Within a few minutes, the vehicle was spotted northbound on Reesor Road, between Steeles Avenue and Highway 7 after citizens called police to report a motorist driving erratically. A decision was made to lay down a tire deflation device on Reesor Road; however, despite the front right tire being punctured by the 'spike belt', the minivan continued north to the railroad tracks.
At the level crossing, Ms. Foy stopped for a train. The officers surrounded the minivan and instructed the driver to get out of her vehicle. She ignored the officers and, instead, continued to drive northbound. Officers pursued the minivan for about 1.3 kilometres to Highway 7 where the minivan entered the intersection against a red light and was struck by an eastbound tractor-trailer. Ms. Foy was fatally injured by the impact.
"There is no suggestion in the evidence that the subject officers, who had been involved in the preceding pursuit to apprehend the driver, at any point caused or contributed to her reckless behaviour or endangered the public around them," concluded SIU Director Ian Scott. "To the contrary, their efforts were aimed squarely at stopping the public danger resulting from her driving."
The SIU investigation found that police officers tried to bring the vehicle to a stop. They attempted the 'box-in' and rolling roadblock methods, and used a tire deflation device without success.
As part of its probe, the SIU interviewed eight York Regional Police officers and four civilian witnesses, and they reviewed police communications tapes and GPS police vehicle recordings. An SIU accident reconstructionist added to the overall forensic examination of the scene.
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.