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News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation into Barrie Traffic Fatality

Case Number: 09-PVD-309

Mississauga (8 February, 2010) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ian Scott, has concluded there are no reasonable grounds to believe that an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer committed a criminal offence in relation to the death of a 49-year-old man in December.

The SIU assigned four investigators, three forensic investigators and one traffic collision reconstruction investigator to probe the circumstances of this incident.

The SIU investigation determined that in the early hours of December 26, 2009, Paul Proulx was reported to be driving northbound on Hwy 400 in an erratic manner. The subject officer followed and attempted to stop Mr. Proulx's vehicle, but Mr. Proulx exited the highway at Mapleview Drive and drove westbound. The officer continued to follow with emergency lights activated. Mr. Proulx ran a red light, and finally came to a stop on Veterans Drive. The officer exited his cruiser, at which point Mr. Proulx reversed his vehicle and collided with a tow truck that had been following the pursuit. He began driving eastbound on Mapleview Drive, with the officer in pursuit. Mr. Proulx then turned northbound on Welham Road, reaching speeds of up to 120 km/h. At the end of Welham Road, just north of Hamilton Road, is an area used as a parking lot by a trucking company. The recent winter weather had resulted in the surface of the parking lot being covered in wet ice that was extremely slippery. Mr. Proulx was unable to stop as he drove onto the parking lot, and his vehicle collided with and slid under a parked transport trailer. He was declared deceased at the scene.

Director Scott said, "Pursuant to s.3 of the Police Services Act 'Suspect Apprehension Pursuits' regulation, the subject officer had the lawful authority to enter into this pursuit because he had reasonable grounds to believe the driver of the pursued vehicle was committing the criminal offence of initially impaired driving and then dangerous driving. Given the light traffic conditions and the pursued driver's erratic behaviour, the officer could reasonably conclude that the need to apprehend the individual in the fleeing vehicle outweighed the risk to public safety as dictated by the same regulation. The subject officer stayed in radio contact with his dispatcher, he activated his emergency equipment, and the pursuit was not called off by a superior officer. Further, there is no evidence of contact between the subject officer's police cruiser and the fleeing vehicle. There is no suggestion of any dangerous or reckless driving by the subject officer."

Director Scott concluded, "The unfortunate demise of Mr. Proulx can be largely attributed to his attempt to elude apprehension, icy road conditions in the trucking company parking lot, and his inability to stop his vehicle leading to a fatal collision with the stationary trailer."

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