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News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation into Burlington Death

Case Number: 05-PVD-018

TORONTO (21 April, 2005) --- James L. Cornish, the Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), has concluded there is no reasonable basis to believe that an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer committed any criminal offence in relation to the death of Pierre Payette.

Mr. Payette died on February 16, 2005, after he was struck by a car in the eastbound lanes of the Queen Elizabeth Highway (QEW) at the Guelph Line, in Burlington.

Six SIU investigators were assigned to probe the circumstances surrounding Mr. Payette's death. As part of the investigation, investigators interviewed 28 police and civilian witnesses. Forensic identification technicians videotaped, measured and prepared scene drawings where Mr. Payette was killed. His medical records were also received and reviewed.

The SIU investigation revealed that at approximately 7:19 p.m., an OPP officer responded from the Burlington detachment to reports of a man walking along the shoulder of the westbound lanes of the QEW at the Guelph Line. A number of motorists had also seen Mr. Payettte, who appeared confused, running across the highway.

At approximately 7:29 p.m., the officer arrived in a fully marked cruiser and pulled over onto the south shoulder of the QEW lanes, about twenty feet behind Mr. Payette. The police communications recordings show that at 7:30 p.m., the officer reported the man was trying to run into traffic and requested assistance. The officer exited his cruiser and about 25 seconds later, the officer transmitted that the pedestrian had been hit. Mr. Payette had run across the highway and was struck and killed by a van.

Director Cornish stated, "It was only seconds after the officer arrived at the scene, and indeed before he even had a chance to converse with Mr. Payette, let alone touch him, that Mr. Payette bolted across the busy highway and was struck by an unsuspecting motorist."

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