SIU Director’s Report - Case # 20-PVI-270
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Mandate of the SIU
Under the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU must determine based on the evidence gathered in an investigation whether an officer has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation. If, after an investigation, there are reasonable grounds to believe that an offence was committed, the Director has the authority to lay a criminal charge against the officer. Alternatively, in all cases where no reasonable grounds exist, the Director does not lay criminal charges but files a report with the Attorney General communicating the results of an investigation.
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“FIPPA”)Pursuant to section 14 of FIPPA (i.e., law enforcement), certain information may not be included in this report. This information may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Confidential investigative techniques and procedures used by law enforcement agencies; and
- Information whose release could reasonably be expected to interfere with a law enforcement matter or an investigation undertaken with a view to a law enforcement proceeding.
- Subject Officer name(s);
- Witness Officer name(s);
- Civilian Witness name(s);
- Location information;
- Witness statements and evidence gathered in the course of the investigation provided to the SIU in confidence; and
- Other identifiers which are likely to reveal personal information about individuals involved in the investigation.
Pursuant to PHIPA, any information related to the personal health of identifiable individuals is not included.
Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (“PHIPA”)
Other proceedings, processes, and investigationsInformation may have also been excluded from this report because its release could undermine the integrity of other proceedings involving the same incident, such as criminal proceedings, coroner’s inquests, other public proceedings and/or other law enforcement investigations.
“Serious injuries” shall include those that are likely to interfere with the health or comfort of the victim and are more than merely transient or trifling in nature and will include serious injury resulting from sexual assault. “Serious Injury” shall initially be presumed when the victim is admitted to hospital, suffers a fracture to a limb, rib or vertebrae or to the skull, suffers burns to a major portion of the body or loses any portion of the body or suffers loss of vision or hearing, or alleges sexual assault. Where a prolonged delay is likely before the seriousness of the injury can be assessed, the Unit should be notified so that it can monitor the situation and decide on the extent of its involvement.
This report relates to the SIU’s investigation into a serious injury sustained by a 47-year-old man (the Complainant).
Notification of the SIUOn October 16, 2020, at 4:50 a.m., the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) reported an injury to the Complainant.
The OPP advised that on October 16, 2020, at 1:20 a.m., Marathon OPP police officers responded to a residence after Civilian Witness (CW) #1 reported that her ex-boyfriend, the Complainant, had broken into her home and assaulted her. Responding police officers saw the Complainant’s white GMC Sierra pickup truck driving on Peninsula Road. When the police officers activated their emergency equipment, the Complainant’s truck fled at a high rate of speed and a brief pursuit took place, which was discontinued at 1:25 a.m.
At 1:28 a.m., the OPP police officers were authorized to resume patrols for the suspect truck and discovered that the Complainant’s vehicle had rolled into a ditch on Camp 19 Road - an extension of Peninsula Road north of Highway 17. The Complainant was arrested along with another occupant in the truck, CW #3.
The Complainant was taken to Wilson Memorial General Hospital (WMGH) having suffered a fractured rib. He was discharged from hospital and returned into the custody of the police awaiting a bail hearing.
The TeamNumber of SIU Investigators assigned: 2
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 1
Complainant:47-year-old male interviewed, medical records obtained and reviewed
Civilian WitnessesCW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Interviewed
CW #4  Interviewed
Witness OfficersWO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
Subject OfficersSO Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject officer’s legal right
The SceneThe scene was located on Camp 19 Road about 200 metres north of the intersection at Peninsula Road and Highway 17 in Marathon. As Peninsula Road continues north of Highway 17 it turns into Camp 19 Road. At the location was a pickup truck inverted from a rollover collision. The truck was located in the west ditch partially into a tree line. It was orientated westerly and was extensively damaged due to the rollover. The truck and the scene were photographed.
Figure 1 - The location of the pickup truck on Camp 19 Road.
Involved Police Cruiser
Global Positioning System (GPS) / Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL) Data
At 1:00:08 a.m., the SO’s police cruiser was travelling south on Peninsula Road toward the OPP Marathon Detachment, located at 101 Peninsula Road. A maximum speed of 93 km/h was attained. At 1:01:52 a.m., the police cruiser was stationary at the Marathon Detachment.
At 1:23:08 a.m., the SO’s cruiser became mobile heading south on Peninsula Road toward the city of Marathon. It reached a maximum speed of 72 km/h before stopping at 1:23:33 a.m., turning around and travelling northbound on Peninsula Road [this is believed to have been the location where the SO and WO #1 encountered the Complainant driving north on Peninsula Road]. The SO’s police cruiser attained a maximum speed of 151 km/h northbound on Peninsula Road before stopping and becoming stationary at 1:24:31 a.m.
At 1:29:17 a.m., the SO’s cruiser became mobile continuing north on Peninsula Road and attaining a maximum speed of 105 km/h. At 1:29:23 a.m., the police cruiser stopped for 68 seconds  before continuing northbound. At 1:31:43 a.m., the SO’s cruiser became stationary on Camp 19 Road, north of Highway 17 [this is known to be the location where the Complainant’s truck rolled over].
At 2:00:08 a.m., the SO’s cruiser became mobile heading south on Peninsula Road and reaching a maximum speed of 105 km/h. At 2:02:32 a.m., the cruiser became stationary at the Marathon Detachment.
Police Communications Recordings
At 1:40 minutes into the call, CW #1 told the 911 operator that the Complainant had just left. CW #1 advised the Complainant had left in a newer model, white GMC Sierra truck, and was probably heading [west].
At 5:13 minutes into the call, a male voice [known to be a police officer] could be heard asking if CW #1 was okay and the call concluded when police officer(s) arrived.
At 1:20:58 a.m., an undesignated OPP officer was dispatched to a domestic dispute in Marathon. Information was provided that the caller, CW #1, had said her ex -boyfriend [now determined to be the Complainant] had punched her in the face. The Complainant was there with an accomplice, his roommate [now determined to be CW #3].
The SO and WO #1 were also dispatched and advised they were responding from the Marathon Detachment. The SO and WO #1 were responding together in the SO’s police cruiser. The dispatcher informed the responding units the suspect had left the residence in a newer model, white GMC Sierra. CW #1 reported the Complainant was possibly headed westbound. The SO broadcast they were coming from the detachment and if the Complainant was heading toward the highway, they should see him.
At 1:33 minutes into the recording, or 1:22:31 a.m., the SO broadcast they had the white GMC northbound on Peninsula Road. At 1:22:40 a.m., the undesignated officer advised he had arrived at [CW #1’s residence]. At 1:22:45 a.m., the SO advised they had tried pursuing the vehicle with lights and siren, but it was not stopping. He informed the dispatcher they had pulled over and provided their mileage.
The undesignated officer broadcast he had reasonable and probable grounds to arrest the Complainant and CW #3 for mischief.
WO #2 in the communications centre used the police radio and asked WO #1 and the SO for the details of the incident. The SO informed WO #2 they had been responding to a domestic when the suspect vehicle had driven past them at a high rate of speed. They turned around with lights and siren, but within one kilometre they could barely see the vehicle, so they pulled over and provided their mileage. They no longer had a visual on the vehicle. WO #2 authorized them to proceed within the posted speed limit. He further instructed if they saw the vehicle again, they were not to engage it.
At 1:26 a.m., the SO reported over his police radio they had just seen a baseball bat on the highway and were stopping to pick it up. At 1:26:27 a.m., Anishinabek Police Service (APS) CW #4 reported over the police radio he had come across the suspect vehicle right across from Marathon Corner on Highway 17 and it was upside down. Dispatch advised they would have an ambulance respond. CW #4 advised there were two men [known to be the Complainant and CW #3] with the vehicle. When asked by the dispatcher if the men were conscious, CW #4 advised, “Yes.”
At 1:27:50 a.m., the SO and WO #1 arrived on scene. They confirmed the licence plate as the one previously broadcast by the dispatcher. The SO reported CW #3 was in custody for mischief. The SO advised the Complainant was in custody for spousal assault and mischief. WO #1 would accompany the Complainant in the ambulance as it drove to the hospital.
At 1:30:25 a.m., the SO reported over the police radio he and CW #4 were heading to the Marathon Detachment with CW #3.
Materials obtained from Police ServiceThe SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the OPP Marathon Detachment:
- Computer-assisted Dispatch Event Details;
- Communications recordings;
- Crash Data Retrieval / Airbag Control Module Report;
- GPS / AVL Data;
- Motor Vehicle Collision Report;
- Notes of the witness officers; and
- Occurrence Details and Reports.
Materials obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU also obtained the following records from non-police sources:
- Medical Record-WMGH.
At about 1:20 a.m. on October 16, 2020, CW #1 called the OPP to report that she had just been assaulted and had some of her property damaged by the Complainant, an ex-boyfriend. About a minute-and-a-half into the call, CW #1 indicated that the Complainant had had just left her residence in Marathon in a white pickup truck. Police officers were dispatched to investigate.
The SO and his partner, WO #1, were making their way to the scene in a marked cruiser traveling south on Peninsula Road from Highway 17 when they noticed the white pickup truck accelerating north toward them on the roadway. As the truck passed their location, the officers activated their emergency lights and siren, turned their cruiser around and started to follow the vehicle northward at speed. The pickup truck was a long way in the distance and the officers decided to terminate their involvement as they lost sight of it. Having pulled to the side of the road and called in their mileage, the officers were given permission to resume their patrol in search of the vehicle but not to pursue should they come across it.
At about 1:26 a.m., CW #4 of the APS radioed that he had come across the pickup truck on Camp 19 Road north of Highway 17. It had flipped and was stationary on its roof. An ambulance was dispatched to the scene of the wreckage.
While traveling north on Peninsula Road at speed, the driver lost control of the pickup truck as it proceeded past Highway 17, tumbled over and came to rest a distance north of the intersection.
The SO and WO #1 arrived at the crash site at about 1:28 a.m. Each of the Complainant and CW #3 were arrested without incident. The Complainant was taken to hospital in Marathon and diagnosed with a fractured rib.
Section 320.13, Criminal Code – Dangerous operation causing bodily harm
Analysis and Director's Decision
The offence that arises for consideration is dangerous driving causing bodily harm contrary to section 320.13(2) of the Criminal Code. The offence is predicated, in part, on conduct that deviates markedly from a reasonable level of care in the circumstances. There is nothing in the evidence, in my view, to suggest that the SO transgressed the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law.
The officers were within their rights to initiate a pursuit on Peninsula Road. Given what they had been told of the 911 call, they had good cause to believe that the truck they encountered contained the Complainant, who had reportedly committed a serious criminal offence.
Thereafter, there is little to no evidence that the SO endangered the lives of anyone as he briefly pursued the pickup truck. While the officer did reach speeds upwards of 150 km/h, he did so over an engagement that was brief in time and distance (about one minute and 1.7 kilometres), with emergency lights and siren on, and at a time when there would have been little to no traffic on the road. Notwithstanding his speed, the SO was unable to gain any ground on the pickup truck and, wisely in my opinion, terminated the pursuit soon after it had begun about two kilometres from the collision scene. Regrettably, instead of following suit and reducing his speed, the driver of the pickup truck continued his reckless course and crashed the vehicle on Camp 19 Road north of Highway 17.
As I am unable to reasonably conclude on the foregoing record that the manner in which the SO operated the police cruiser in the moments before the collision fell afoul of the criminal law, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case against the officer. The file is closed.
Date: January 11, 2021
Electronically approved by
Special Investigations Unit
- 1) CW #4 is a police officer with the Anishinabek Police Service, which does not fall within the SIU’s mandate. Anishinabek Police Service officers are not subject to a duty to cooperate and are treated as civilians for the purposes of an SIU investigation. [Back to text]
- 2) It is believed this is the time when the SO and WO #1 stopped to pick up a baseball bat found lying in the road. [Back to text]
The signed English original report is authoritative, and any discrepancy between that report and the French and English online versions should be resolved in favour of the original English report.