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News Release

SIU Closes Investigation into Guelph Vehicle Injury

Case Number: 10-OVI-122

Mississauga (20 August, 2010) --- The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has reviewed the facts around the July 2010 vehicle injuries sustained by 25-year-old Richard Gouthro. Ian Scott, Director of the SIU, has concluded there are no reasonable grounds to believe an officer with the Guelph Police Service committed a criminal offence in this case.

The SIU assigned three investigators, two forensic investigators and a collision reconstructionist to probe the circumstances of this incident. The investigation found that the following events took place on July 2:
* In the early hours of that day, Mr. Gouthro took a black pickup truck from the area of 14 North Street in Guelph.
* The owner of the vehicle reported that the pickup had been stolen and the information was dispatched to on-duty officers.
* The subject officer was on patrol in a marked cruiser, saw the pickup truck in question and began to follow it. He began to organize a rolling block (tactic used to slow a vehicle down by surrounding it on all sides) of the vehicle now traveling westbound on Wellington Street East with the assistance of another marked cruiser and an unmarked police SUV.
* The police vehicles positioned themselves around the pickup truck, slowed down to approximately 30 km/h and activated their emergency lights.
* Mr. Gouthro swerved to his left, causing the subject officer to also swerve to his left, and accelerated away from the rolling block, driving through a red light at the corner of Wyndam and Wellington Streets.
* The subject officer radioed that he was the primary pursuing vehicle.
* At one point, the pickup truck made physical contact with an ambulance, causing minor damage to the ambulance's driver side mirror.
* The officer accelerated to speeds up to 100 km/h during the pursuit. There was no traffic on the road and the weather conditions were fair.
* Mr. Gouthro continued driving. The truck ultimately left the roadway and traveled about 100 meters down an embankment on the south side of Wellington Street into Silver Creek Park.
* He was found just outside the truck, and transported by ambulance to the Guelph General Hospital. He was diagnosed with a broken right ankle, bruised abdomen, and bruising and swelling on his forehead.

Director Scott said, "In these circumstances, the subject officer had the lawful authority to detain Mr. Gouthro because the officer had reason to believe that he was in possession of a stolen vehicle. Under the 'Suspect Apprehension Pursuit' regulation to the Police Services Act, he also had the authority to enter into a pursuit when Mr. Gouthro failed to stop. The subject officer activated his emergency equipment, contacted his communications office, engaged in the pursuit when the road was clear and the weather fair, and did not come into physical contact with the pursued vehicle. Because the subject officer was engaged in his lawful duties, he was exempt from prescribed speed limits by virtue of ss. 128(13) of the Highway Traffic Act. The injuries sustained by Mr. Gouthro were caused by his attempt to elude apprehension from a lawful detention by the subject officer. Accordingly, the officer cannot be held criminally liable for either his own driving or those injuries to the complainant."

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