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News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation into Thunder Bay Fatality

Case Number: 07-PVD-223

TORONTO (15 February, 2008) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), James Cornish, has concluded that, "There are no reasonable grounds to believe that any of the officers involved in this case committed any criminal offence in regards to the traffic death of Darlene Almos on November 6, 2007 in Thunder Bay."

The SIU assigned two investigators, one forensic investigator and an accident reconstructionist to probe the circumstances of this death.

The SIU determined that at 10:15 p.m., Monday November 5, 2007, Darlene Almos called the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) to report the theft of her cell phone. Two OPP officers in separate police cars were dispatched to investigate. They found Ms. Almos walking with her leashed dog along the side of Highway 11-17 near Sunny Beach Road. Both officers pulled their police cars completely off the highway, activated each police car's emergency lights, and stopped beside Ms. Almos.

Both officers got out of their respective police cars and walked around to the passenger side's of their police cars to talk to Ms. Almos. She appeared to be cold and she was shivering. One of the officers invited Ms. Almos to sit in the back of his police car. She agreed to do so. He opened the rear door of his police car to allow her and her dog to get in. As she started to move towards the cruiser her dog pulled away and moved towards the front of the police car. She lost her grip on the leash and the dog ran out onto Highway 11-17. Ms. Almos ran by the officer and out onto the highway after her dog. Both officers were yelling at her to stop because they could see traffic approaching. Both officers ran out onto the highway in an attempt to get Ms. Almos back to safety, but a westbound tow truck struck her. The tow truck narrowly missed one of the OPP officers that had tried to pull her to safety. Ms. Almos' dog was not injured.

Ms. Almos sustained serious injuries and she was airlifted to Thunder Bay Hospital for treatment. She succumbed to her injuries in the early morning hours of November 6, 2007.

Director Cornish said, "The officers involved in this case did not cause this tragic incident. Ms. Almos did not appreciate the grave danger she was exposing herself to as she tried to catch her dog."

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