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News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation into Ottawa Collision

Case Number: 07-OVI-128

TORONTO (15 January, 2008) --- James Cornish, the Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), has concluded that the evidence does not furnish reasonable grounds to believe that an Ottawa Police Service (OPS) officer committed a criminal offence when he was involved in a collision with another car on June 30, 2007.

The SIU assigned two field investigators and one forensic identification technician to investigate the circumstances surrounding this collision.

The SIU investigation determined that at 1:20 a.m., June 30, 2007, an OPS officer was responding to a stolen vehicle call. He was driving an unmarked police cruiser northbound on Fisher Avenue through a natural depression in the road, south of Emperor Avenue. The officer was exceeding the speed limit whilst responding to a priority call for assistance, but traffic was light and the road was dry. At this same time the driver of a Toyota was stopped on Emperor Avenue at the stop sign at Fisher Avenue. The officer glanced at his in car computer terminal momentarily and when he looked up the Toyota was in front of him. He attempted to avoid a collision, but struck the Toyota just north of Emperor Avenue. There were two adults and a 3-month old baby in the Toyota. The parents suffered minor injuries. The baby was taken to hospital where it was determined he had suffered a skull fracture. Fortunately the baby did not sustain any brain damage and was released from hospital on July 2nd.

The SIU investigators determined that the Toyota turning onto northbound Fisher Avenue and the glancing away of the officer occurred more or less simultaneously during the time the police cruiser was in the depression in the road. This contributed to the inability of the officer to see the Toyota and the Toyota driver's inability to see the approaching police cruiser.

Director Cornish said, "The officer was driving a police vehicle with its emergency lights activated. He had a reasonable basis to expect other that the other users of the roadway would yield the right of way to him. In my view the officer's speed on this road, in the circumstances, does not amount to a marked departure from the standard of care of a reasonable person."

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. 

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