SIU Concludes Investigation into Traffic Fatality in West Elgin
Case Number: 09-PVD-164
The SIU assigned four investigators and three forensic investigators to probe the circumstances of this occurrence.
The SIU investigation determined that on July 6, 2009 at approximately 1:20 p.m., the subject officer and Constable Alan Hack, who was in the rear passenger seat of the subject officer's police vehicle, were attempting to apprehend a man who had recently fled from a motor vehicle. They were traveling on Furnival Road and then turned east onto Thompson Line. The officer made a U-turn on this road, and then proceeded to make a left hand turn from Thompson Line onto Furnival Road in order to go south. She was traveling at a low rate of speed but did not stop at the stop sign. A southbound tractor-trailer collided with the OPP cruiser, causing catastrophic injuries to Constable Hack. He was transported to hospital where he ultimately died of his injuries.
Director Scott said, "At the point of impact, the police cruiser was traveling at either a slow rate of speed or was stationary. In deciding whether the subject officer engaged in driving that was a marked departure from the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the circumstances, I have taken into consideration the following factors. This collision happened in broad daylight on a straight road. The speed reported from the downloaded black box seized from the tractor-trailer at the point of impact indicated a truck speed of 47 km/h, well below the posted speed limit of 80 km/h. There is no suggestion of alcohol or drugs affecting the driving ability of the subject officer. Further, there does not appear to be anything that would have obstructed the view of the subject officer at the corner of the two roadways. The most reasonable interpretation of this tragic event is that the subject officer never saw the tractor-trailer until the last moment due to her attention being focused on the apprehension of the individual who was attempting to elude the police."
Director Scott concluded, "Taking into consideration all of the material circumstances, and in particular the subject officer's fleeting inadvertence, her slow speed and her apparent attempt to stop to avoid the collision, I am of the view that the subject officer's driving, notwithstanding the catastrophic consequences, was not a marked departure from a similarly situated reasonable person. Accordingly, there are no reasonable grounds in my view to believe that the subject officer committed a criminal offence in relation to the motor vehicle collision causing the death of Constable Hack."
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.