SIU Concludes Investigation into Vehicle Rollover in Kitchener
Case Number: 08-OVI-042
The Director of the SIU, James Cornish, has concluded that "... the available evidence does not furnish reasonable grounds for causing the subject officer to be charged with a criminal offence in connection with this matter."
At approximately 4:40 a.m. on March 23, 2008, a Waterloo Regional Police Officer, operating a marked cruiser during routine patrol, noticed a vehicle being driven erratically on Bleams Road. As he made a U-turn to investigate the late-model van, it accelerated at high speed and ignored traffic signals at many controlled intersections. The officer did not activate the cruiser's roof lights but, instead, chose to follow the vehicle at a distance eastbound for approximately 5.7 kilometres. The driver of the minivan lost control on a curve on Bleams Road near Otanabee Drive while travelling at a high rate of speed. The vehicle slid sideways and rolled over approximately eight times. A 29-year-old man - one of three occupants in the van - was treated for multiple fractures.[JM1] Two other men fled the scene on foot. Police later determined that the van had been stolen.
"In my view, the evidence does not support the conclusion that the officer caused this accident," said Mr. Cornish. "The evidence is clear that there was a significant gap between the officer's cruiser and the van throughout this incident. The cruiser never did get close to the van in the sense that it could be reasonably said that the officer was either figuratively or literally pushing the van."
The SIU assigned five investigators, three forensic investigators and a collision reconstructionist to probe the nature and extent of police involvement in this case.
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.