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News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation into Pursuit of Stolen Vehicle in Ottawa

Case Number: 08-OVI-111

TORONTO (24 July, 2008) --- The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has concluded that there is no reasonable basis to conclude that officers of the Ottawa Police Service committed any criminal office in respect of their pursuit of a stolen vehicle in Ottawa last month.

It was shortly after 2:30 a.m. on June 20, 2008 when officers attempted to stop a reported stolen car at Heron Road and Baycrest Street. The SIU investigation determined that during the pursuit lasting less than two minutes and covering approximately one kilometre, the vehicle went out of control and spun out on Altavista Drive. "When officers attempted to stop the suspect vehicle, the suspect evaded their efforts to box him in and sped away," said Mr. Cornish. The stolen vehicle travelling in the wrong lane struck head-on a marked cruiser that had slowed almost to a stop. The officer involved in the collision suffered minor injuries, while the 21-year-old suspect was treated for a fractured wrist, cuts and bruises.

Mr. Cornish added: "I am satisfied that the suspect lost control of the vehicle he was operating when, at high speeds, one of its wheels struck a curb. The physical evidence is inconsistent with the notion that any cruiser struck the suspect from behind causing this loss of control."

The SIU assigned six investigators, including three forensic experts, to probe the sequence of events leading up to the collision between the police cruiser and the suspect vehicle. A total of five Ottawa Police officers were designated by the SIU - two as subject officers and three as witness officers. Investigators also examined the GPS (Global Positioning System) the CDR (Crash Data Retrieval) equipment in the police vehicles.

"The case demonstrates the benefits to civilian oversight of law enforcement that flow from the availability and use of modern technology by police agencies," said Mr. Cornish. "Of course, this is not the only or even perhaps the principle purpose of this technology; however, it is a truly positive effect of such. "

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