SIU Concludes Vehicle Death Investigation in Wellington County
Case Number: 11-PVD-136
Other News Releases Related to Case 11-PVD-136
Mississauga (26 August, 2011) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ian Scott, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge an officer of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) with a criminal offence in regards to the death of 30-year-old Robert Collins of Milton in a collision in Wellington County in July of this year.
The SIU assigned five investigators and two forensic investigators to the investigation. The SIU made a digital photographic record of the scene, collected physical evidence, seized exhibits and searched for Closed Circuit TV images relevant to the incident. Measurements were taken and a scale drawing of the scene was completed. An SIU collision reconstructionist attended the scene and prepared a report with his findings. Mr. Collins’ motorcycle was seized and inspected to determine its mechanical fitness. Pertinent documents were obtained from the OPP. SIU investigators identified and interviewed twelve civilian witnesses. One officer was designated as a witness officer and copies of his notebook entries were obtained and reviewed. One officer was designated as a subject officer. He, as is his right, declined an interview with the SIU.
The SIU investigation determined that on July 17, 2011 Mr. Collins was driving his motorcycle at a high rate of speed southbound on Highway 6 North – also known as Hanlon Parkway - in Wellington County in the early afternoon. He was in the company of two other motorcyclists. They passed the subject officer who was operating a Light Detection and Ranging speed monitoring device from his marked OPP SUV that was parked on the side of the roadway. The subject officer pulled his vehicle on the roadway and pursued with the intent of noting the licence plate numbers of the speeding motorcycles. He did not activate his emergency equipment. Mr. Collins began increasing his speed and pulled ahead of the other two motorcycles. Further down the road, there was an intersection between Hanlon Parkway and Wellington County Road #34 with traffic lights. As Mr. Collins approached the intersection, the traffic lights were red in the southbound direction, and traffic was stopped in both the curb and passing lanes. Instead of slowing down, Mr. Collins continued to increase his speed and drive his motorcycle between the two lanes of stopped traffic. It was clear to all of the civilian witnesses that he had no intention of stopping at the intersection. As he approached the red traffic light, a car entered the intersection in an attempt to complete a westbound turn from the northbound lanes with the traffic lights in his favour. Mr. Collins began braking but could not avoid a collision with the passenger side rear fender area of the westbound car. Mr. Collins died shortly thereafter due to the injuries sustained in the collision. The distance between the locations where the subject officer was conducting his speed checks and the collision scene was approximately two kilometres.
Director Scott said, "In my view, the subject officer had the lawful authority to initiate a pursuit pursuant to ss. 3(1)(b) of the Suspect Apprehension Pursuit regulation to the Police Services Act in order to identify the motor vehicle or its driver; he had observed the motorcyclist exceeding the speed limit. The pursuit was of an extremely short duration, and there was no physical contact between the subject officer’s vehicle and Mr. Collins’ motorcycle. Mr. Collins immediately accelerated and engaged in criminally reckless driving in an attempt to elude the subject officer. His actions led directly to his own demise and placed others in danger as he drove between stopped vehicles toward a red traffic light at an excessive rate of speed." Director Scott concluded, "While the outcome was tragic, there is no suggestion that the subject officer did anything wrong in his attempt to identify Mr. Collins or his motorcycle."
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.
Frank Phillips, firstname.lastname@example.org
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342