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News Release

SIU Closes Investigation into Wellington County Vehicle Death

Case Number: 10-PVD-020

Mississauga (26 March, 2010) --- The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has reviewed the facts around the February 2010 vehicle death of 22-year-old Katherine McNally, and the serious injuries sustained by 18-year-old Alexander Maxwell. Ian Scott, the Director of the SIU, has concluded there are no reasonable grounds to believe an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer committed a criminal offence in this case.

The SIU assigned five investigators and four forensic investigators to probe the circumstances of this incident. The investigation found that the following events took place on February 11th:
* In the early hours of that day, 25-year-old David King was driving southbound along Hwy 23 from Harriston to Palmerston. This stretch of Hwy 23 is a straight two lane road in good repair with a posted 80 km/hr speed limit. The roadway was clear and dry at that time.
* As Mr. King was traveling southbound, a marked cruiser driven by the subject officer passed him in the opposite direction. The officer could not see a rear license plate on Mr. King's vehicle in his rear view mirror, and so he slowed down, executed a U-turn, and activated his emergency lights in an attempt to stop Mr. King's vehicle.
* Almost immediately thereafter, Mr. King's Chevrolet Impala veered into the northbound lane and collided with a Mercury Sable being driven by Ms. McNally. Ms McNally died instantly as a result of the collision and her passenger Mr. Maxwell received serious but non-life threatening injuries. Mr. King was treated at the Palmerston Hospital and released the following day.

Director Scott said, "These events happened so quickly that it is unlikely that the subject officer's actions amounted to a suspect apprehension pursuit as defined by the Police Services Act. The officer was attempting to signal Mr. King's vehicle to stop, but it is unclear whether he had actually entered into a pursuit before the Impala caused this fatal collision. According to the accident reconstruction report, the distance between the U-turn of the subject officer's cruiser and the point of impact between the Impala and the Sable was 800 metres. Assuming for the moment that the subject officer had entered into a pursuit, he had the lawful authority to do so under s. 3 of the same regulation in order to identify either the vehicle or the driver. Be that as it may, any actions taken by the subject officer in relation to this incident fall well below the threshold of criminal liability as defined by the Criminal Code."

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