'No question' OPP officer at fault in serious collision, but criminal charges not warranted: SIU report
The province’s Special Investigations Unit says it has found ample evidence that an Ontario Provincial Police officer operated a police cruiser in a “careless manner,” leading to a crash on Highway 401 near Gananoque in October 2016.
However, the officer should not face criminal charges in the incident, the SIU added.
The OPP cruiser struck a passenger vehicle in stop-and-go traffic, seriously injuring the 78-year-old driver.
“On all of the evidence, there is no question that the [officer] was at fault in causing the collision,” the report states.
But SIU director Tony Loparco, in a decision released Tuesday, said the evidence is insufficient to lay criminal charges.
The investigation found that the officer was eastbound on Highway 401 on Oct. 6, 2016, at around 2 p.m. when she collided with the civilian vehicle. That vehicle then collided with a second vehicle.
The 78-year-old man was transported to Kingston General Hospital, where he was treated for a fractured spine and several fractures to his rib cage.
According to the SIU investigation, the victim was driving a Hyundai at a speed of 12 km/h in stop-and-go traffic, due to construction on the highway.
Analysis showed the cruiser was travelling at 75 km/h when it slammed into the Hyundai, propelling it forward at a speed of 53 km/h, ramming it into a Jeep Cherokee. The Hyundai then “rotated counter-clockwise, coming into collision with the concrete barrier in the centre median,” the SIU report adds.
Data collected from the scene suggests the officer’s car was travelling 108 km/h five seconds before colliding with the Hyundai.
The SIU investigation took statements from four witnesses, one police civilian employee witness and seven police officers to piece together the chain of events in the collision.
The officer involved in the crash “declined to be interviewed, as is her legal right, and did not provide her notes for review,” the SIU report notes.
The SIU report also stated that the officer gave “conflicting versions” to supervisors, when initially reporting the collision, of the involvement of a black SUV.
“There were various [radio] transmissions from the [officer], giving conflicting versions of the involvement of [a] ‘black SUV’ at various points,” the SIU report reads. “Despite numerous police vehicles being on the lookout for this black SUV, none was ever located, nor did any of the other drivers observe any such vehicle in the area prior to the collision.
“It is clear that the [officer] was, for whatever reason, oblivious to the fact there was construction up ahead; that the speed limit in the area had been reduced due to that construction ... it is clear that the [officer], for whatever reason, was inattentive to the fact that traffic was slowing and stopping, failed to adjust her speed accordingly, and caused the collision between herself and the vehicles travelling at far lesser speeds ahead of her on the roadway.”
However, the report stated that the evidence collected as part of the investigation was not enough to warrant criminal charges against the police officer in the crash.
“The law is clear, however, that an accident alone is not sufficient to satisfy the elements of either Section 249 or 221 of the Criminal Code; there must be some evidence that the driving prior to the collision amounted to either ‘a marked departure from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the accused’s circumstances’ or ‘a marked and substantial departure from the standard of a reasonable driver in circumstances’ where the accused ‘showed a reckless disregard for the lives and safety of others.’”
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.http://www.thewhig.com/2018/01/09/no-qu ... siu-reporthttp://www.recorder.ca/2018/01/09/opp-o ... reless-siuhttp://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-new ... siu-reporthttp://toronto.citynews.ca/2018/01/09/s ... 401-crash/https://www.therecord.com/news-story/80 ... crash-siu/