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SIU clears Nottawasaga OPP in last month's crash

Posted June 19, 2014

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), has ended its investigation into a May 2nd collision in Adjala-Tosorontio that involved a vehicle fleeing from a Nottawasaga OPP traffic stop, clearing the officer from any fault in the eventual accident that injured two people.

In a release posted on the SIU's web site, Director Tony Loparco, "concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge an officer with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Nottawasaga Detachment, with any criminal offence in relation to the injuries sustained by a 55- year-old man and 50-year-old woman, in May of this year."

There were four SIU investigators, and two forensic units involved, three witness officers interviewed, as well as the subject offier, who "did not provide his notes, as is his legal right."

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Friday, May 2, 2014:
  • At approximately 9:30 p.m. that night, the subject officer was in an unmarked police vehicle conducting traffic and speed enforcement southbound on County Road 15 in Tosorontio Township.
  • He clocked a pickup truck travelling northbound at 110 km/h in an 80 km/h speed zone.
  • The officer made a U-turn to stop the vehicle. As the subject officer completed his U-turn, he was about 250 metres behind the pickup.
  • Despite reaching speeds of 150 160 km/h, the officer was unable to make up the gap between the two vehicles as the pickup truck had also picked up speed.
  • The pickup truck approached the crest of a hill on the roadway as it headed toward Side Road 15.
  • Within seconds, the subject officer crested the same hill and saw the pickup truck drift into the southbound lane before it corrected back into the northbound lane.
  • The vehicles were separated by about 100 - 125 metres at this time. It was at this point that the officer turned on his emergency lights.
  • A few seconds later, the pickup truck again veered into the southbound lane, this time striking a southbound Honda CRV.
  • At the time of the collision, the officer was approximately 75 metres behind the pickup.
  • The male and female, who were occupants of the Honda CRV, suffered serious injuries and were treated at hospital. 
The officer's overall engagement with the pickup truck, from the time he completed his U-turn to the time of collision, occurred in light traffic over the course of 30 seconds and 1.3 kilometres. Within this time frame, it was only two or three seconds from when he activated his emergency lights until the collision. The point is that this was a short-lived pursuit that was essentially over before it began in earnest with the activation of the emergency lights," according to quotes attributed to Director Loparco.

"The subject officer was operating an emergency vehicle and engaged in the execution of his duties. Accordingly, under the Highway Traffic Act, he was exempt in these circumstances from the speed limit (section 128(13)(b)). Finally, it does not appear that the officer's driving unduly fueled the driving behavior of the driver of the pickup truck, notwithstanding the officer's speeds. The evidence further establishes that the officer was never closer than about 75 metres from the pickup truck. In the circumstances, I am satisfied that the officer's conduct fell short of a marked departure from the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the circumstances, and that there is therefore no basis to proceed with charges in this case."

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