No Criminal Wrongdoing in Millbrook-area Highway Pursuit and Crash
Case Number: 15-PVI-208
Other News Releases Related to Case 15-PVI-208
(23 August, 2016) ---
The Acting Director of the Special Investigations Unit has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to believe an officer with the Ontario Provincial Police committed a criminal offence in connection with a pursuit that ended with the fleeing vehicle crashing at the end of a highway exit ramp.
Seven investigators and one forensic investigator were assigned to this incident.
The subject officer provided a copy of his duty notes but did not participate in an SIU interview, as was his legal right. Three witness officers and two civilian witnesses – the driver of the fleeing vehicle and her passenger - were interviewed. The Unit’s investigation also included collision reconstruction and analysis as well as police communications recordings of the pursuit.
The SIU investigation found the following:
- Around 10:00 p.m. on September 14, 2015, an OPP officer was conducting speed enforcement on Highway 115 when he registered a truck driving at speeds of almost 150 km/h.
- The officer started to follow the vehicle and observed it weave in and out of traffic as it picked up speed.
- At County Road 10, while still following the truck, the officer activated his lights and siren.
- Less than a minute later, during which the speeds of both vehicles topped out in the range of about 180 km/h, the truck exited the highway at Tapley Quarter Line, sped through the stop sign at the bottom of the exit ramp, and slammed into a ditch on the other side of the road.
- The female driver and the male passenger were extricated from the truck. The woman did not suffer any serious injuries. The 27-year-old man was taken to Peterborough Regional Health Centre with multiple rib and vertebrae fractures. He was later airlifted to St. Michael’s Hospital.
SIU Acting Director Joseph Martino said, “The offence that arises for consideration is dangerous driving under section 249 of the Criminal Code. Liability under the section is predicated on conduct that amounts to a marked departure from the standard of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the circumstances. I am satisfied that the evidence of the subject officer’s conduct falls well short of that standard. The female’s driving was clearly dangerous, particularly given her speed, and the officer was within his rights when he decided he would attempt to stop the pickup truck. Shortly into his engagement, after narrowing the gap between their vehicles, the officer turned on his vehicle’s lights and siren and radioed to indicate that he was now in active pursuit of the truck. Aside from the incredible speeds reached by the officer as he attempted to keep pace with the truck, there is no evidence that the officer’s driving endangered other traffic on the roadway. Nor is there evidence to suggest that the officer recklessly ‘pushed’ the driver and foreclosed any opportunity the driver might have had to safely bring the truck to a stop. Finally, it should be noted that the environmental conditions did not appreciably contribute to the risk of what was a relatively short-lived pursuit; though occurring at night, the incident took place over dry roads and clear conditions.
“On this record, I am satisfied that there are no reasonable grounds to proceed with charges against the subject officer.”
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.
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Jason Gennaro, firstname.lastname@example.org
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-641-1897 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 1897