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News Release

SIU Concludes Death Investigation In Hagersville

Case Number: 11-PVI-148

Mississauga (8 September, 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 15-year-old Wade Marsden of Six Nations in a collision in the Hagersville area in August of this year.

The SIU assigned five SIU investigators, three SIU forensic investigators (FI) and a collision reconstructionist. SIU investigators canvassed the area, identified and interviewed three civilian witnesses. The subject officer’s police vehicle was examined as was the 2000 Pontiac Sunfire that Mr. Marsden was driving. The FI took photographs, made video recordings and forensically mapped the scene. Pertinent information was requested and received from the OPP. The SIU accident reconstructionist concluded that the Sunfire was travelling at 170 km/h when it left the roadway. Further, there was no evidence of contact between the police cruiser driven by the subject officer and the vehicle driven by the decedent.

One officer was designated as a subject officer and four officers were designated as witness officers. All of the officers were interviewed by the SIU

The SIU investigation determined that in the early hours of July 30, 2011, the subject officer was dispatched to a disturbance call at a bush party on the New Credit Reserve. He also received information that the driver of a light coloured Pontiac Sunfire had left the area and was believed to have been drinking.

The subject officer spotted a car matching the description driving south on Highway 6. The car turned into a local business. The subject officer attempted to stop the Sunfire to speak with the driver, Mr. Marsden, but Mr. Marsden did not stop. Instead, he drove back onto Highway 6 and accelerated northbound. The subject officer did not initiate a police pursuit but did follow Mr. Marsden from a considerable distance. As the subject officer rounded a curve he saw that the Sunfire had left the roadway and was now stationary in a nearby pasture and significantly damaged. Mr. Marsden had been thrown from the car and had sustained serious injuries. He later died as a result of those injuries.

Director Scott concluded, "In my view, there is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by the subject officer. Based upon the information he initially received, the subject officer had the lawful authority to stop the Sunfire as part of the lawful execution of his duties under s. 216 of the Highway Traffic Act. Regrettably, Mr. Marsden chose to flee from the subject officer and drive his car at dangerously high speeds, leading to his losing control of it. Mr. Marsden’s car left the highway, and he died as a result of the trauma of the accident."

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