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News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation into Traffic Death in Hamilton

Case Number: 09-OVD-072

Mississauga (13 May, 2009) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ian Scott, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that a Hamilton Police Service (HPS) officer committed a criminal offence in relation to the death of an 18 year old Hamilton woman in March of this year.

The SIU assigned four investigators and three forensic investigators to probe the circumstances of this occurrence.

The SIU investigation determined that on March 28, 2009 shortly after 8:00 p.m. an HPS officer decided to stop a car that was westbound on King Street for a Highway Traffic Act offence. The officer activated his police car’s emergency lights. The driver of the car, 45 year old Terry Ritchie of Hamilton, did not stop for the officer. Instead Mr. Ritchie accelerated away. He drove through a red light at the intersection of Wellington Street North and Wilson Street and collided with a southbound minivan. The pursuit was short with the entire event lasting approximately thirty seconds. The passenger in Mr. Ritchie’s vehicle, his daughter Natasha Ritchie, sustained fatal injuries in the crash. Mr. Ritchie sustained numerous fractures.

Director Scott said, "The subject officer had the right to stop Mr. Ritchie’s vehicle pursuant to s. 216 of the Highway Traffic Act. He further had the right to enter into a pursuit for the failure of the vehicle to stop for the purpose of driver identification under the ‘Suspect Apprehension Pursuit Regulations’ to the Police Services Act. The driver of the pursued vehicle chose to enter an intersection against a red light and was the sole cause of this tragic accident.” Director Scott added, “I have no reasonable grounds to believe that the subject officer committed any Criminal Code driving offences while engaging in the lawful execution of his duties in attempting to stop the Ritchie vehicle."

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. 

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