SIU Director’s Report - Case # 20-TVI-174
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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 the injuries that a 24-year-old woman (the “Complainant”) suffered.
Notification of the SIUOn July 15, 2020 at 3:28 p.m., the Toronto Police Service (TPS) reported the following. On July 15, 2020, at about 11:59 a.m., the Subject Officer (SO) was driving on Kingston Road on his way to an attempt suicide call. When he approached the intersection of Kingston Road and Harewood Avenue, he attempted to make a left turn to go north on Harewood Avenue; however, he collided with a motorcycle which was travelling west on Kingston Road, in the curb lane.
The two riders on the motorcycle, a man [now known to be Civilian Witness (CW) #1] and a woman [the Complainant], were taken to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (SHSC). The Complainant was diagnosed by a physician as having sustained a fractured left hip.
The SO was operating a sports utility vehicle (SUV).
Another police vehicle, which was responding to the same call, had its in-car camera system (ICCS) activated.
The TeamNumber of SIU Investigators assigned: 4
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators (FIs) assigned: 2
Complainant:24-year-old female interviewed, medical records obtained and reviewed
Civilian WitnessesCW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Interviewed
Witness OfficersWO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
WO #4 Interviewed
WO #5 Interviewed
Subject OfficersSO #1 Interviewed, and notes received and reviewed.
The SceneThe collision occurred in the intersection of the westbound curb lane of Kingston Road at Harewood Avenue, Toronto.
Forensic Examination of Motor Vehicle Collision (MVC) at Kingston Road and Harewood Avenue, July 15, 2020
Kingston Road ran in a general north/south direction (for the purposes of this report it ran east/west). There were three marked and paved eastbound lanes with one marked left turn lane onto Harewood Avenue. There were three marked and paved westbound lanes with one marked left turn lane onto Harewood Avenue. The eastbound and westbound lanes of Kingston Road were separated with a raised centre median.
Harewood Avenue ran in a general east/west direction (for the purposes of this report it ran north/south). There was one paved marked lane in each direction. Harewood Avenue was controlled with a stop sign at the intersection with Kingston Road.
There were two involved vehicles as follows:
A 2014 Ford Police Explorer (SUV). The vehicle was a marked police vehicle, which displayed graphics as designed by the TPS. The vehicle was orientated in a northerly direction on Harewood Avenue, and partially into the crosswalk and partially over the right westbound lane of Kingston Road. The vehicle had damage to the front right corner as well as to the right side of the engine hood. The engine was still running.
A silver, 2015 Honda motorcycle. The motorcycle was orientated in a northerly direction on its right side with the right rear tire of the TPS vehicle on top of the front wheel of this motorcycle. The motorcycle had damage to the front end and gas tank. Tire marks and gouge marks in the right westbound lane of Kingston Road indicated the motorcycle was traveling in the right westbound lane when it collided with the right front of the TPS police.
The scene was video recorded and photographed. Measurements were taken with the Total Station for a planned diagram.
SIU Collision Reconstruction Report
The collision involved a fully marked TPS vehicle operated by the SO, and a motorcycle upon which the Complainant was a passenger. WO #3, who is a TPS Collision Reconstructionist, was on scene when the SIU Reconstructionist arrived. The weather at the scene upon the arrival of the writer was mostly sunny and warm with a temperature of about 28 degrees Celsius. The roads were dry and clear. It was daylight. The conditions were similar when the MVC occurred. In this area Kingston Road ran close to north/northeast and south/southwest; however, for the purpose of consistency with other reports it ran east/west.
This was TPS fleet vehicle, which was a 2014 Ford Explorer, white in colour. The police vehicle was found in its position of final rest. It was facing north (towards Harewood Avenue). The front of the police vehicle was partially across the pedestrian crosswalk on the north side of the intersection. The rear of the police vehicle was partially across westbound lane #3 (curb lane) of Kingston Road. The police vehicle was still running. The rear passenger side wheel of the police vehicle came to rest on top of the front wheel of the motorcycle. The SO had been the sole occupant of the police vehicle but was no longer at the scene. The impact with the motorcycle occurred on the front passenger side corner of the police vehicle. The front bumper cover of the police vehicle was indented and torn. There were creases in the bumper cover and soft dents in the front passenger side quarter panel above the front passenger side wheel well. There was scuffing on the sidewall and tread of the front passenger side tire from the collision. All four tires and rims were in good condition. The police vehicle’s air bags had not deployed. The police radio was on and the volume was normal. The flashing police emergency lights and siren were off but were tested and found to be in good working order. The driver’s seat belt was found partially retracted into the “B” pillar beside the driver’s seat. The police vehicle odometer read 176708 kms. The police vehicle appeared to be in good condition prior to the collision. A vehicle damage record was completed at the scene. The police vehicle was towed from the scene by TPS fleet services to the TPS Cranfield garage for a mechanical inspection. On July 16, 2020, the vehicle was examined by a TPS mechanic. No defects were found.
This was a 2015 Honda Shadow motorcycle, which was silver and stainless steel in colour. It had an Ontario licence plate and was registered to CW #1. The motorcycle was found in its position of final rest. It lay on its right side directly beside (to the east of) the passenger side of the police vehicle and faced north towards Harewood Avenue. There had been two persons on the motorcycle, and they were not at the scene. The driver was the owner, CW #1, and he wore a helmet. The Complainant was the passenger and she was reported to have been wearing a helmet. The front wheel and driver’s side front fork of the motorcycle had impacted the police vehicle. The motorcycle fell onto its driver’s right side and slid a short distance causing further damage. There was damage to the fuel tank consistent with at least one of the riders having contacted the fuel tank while being ejected from the motorcycle during the collision. The odometer read 4421 kms. A vehicle damage record was completed at the scene. The motorcycle appeared to be in good condition prior to the collision. The motorcycle was towed from the scene by TPS fleet services to the TPS fleet services garage at 9 Hanna Road, and on July 16, 2020, the motorcycle was examined by a TPS mechanic. No defects were found.
The collision occurred at the intersection of Kingston Road and Harewood Avenue, which was just east of the major, traffic light-controlled intersection of Kingston Road and St. Clair Avenue East, Toronto. Kingston Road was about 27 metres in width and ran east/west. There were six lanes on Kingston Road, three for eastbound and three for westbound traffic. There was a left turn lane for eastbound traffic to turn left onto Harewood Avenue to travel north, and a left turn lane for westbound traffic to turn left onto Harewood Avenue to travel south. There was a raised centre median on Kingston Road, except at intersections. The lanes were numbered from the centre of the road towards the outside of the road, from 1 to 3 (curb lane). On the north side of Kingston Road, Harewood Avenue was about eight metres in width, and consisted of two lanes, which ran north/south. The Dairy Queen (DQ) restaurant was on the northwest corner of the intersection. The parking lot of the DQ restaurant was on the west side of Harewood Avenue to the north of the restaurant. There was a house on the northeast corner of the intersection of Kingston Road and Harewood Avenue. The surface of both roads was paved asphalt in good condition. The intersection was controlled by stop signs on Harewood Avenue, which required traffic that travelled southbound and northbound on Harewood Avenue to stop and yield the right of way to traffic that travelled eastbound and westbound on Kingston Road. The speed limit on Kingston Road was posted in the immediate area at 60 km/h. The speed limit on Harewood Avenue was posted in the immediate area at 40 km/h. Kingston Road in the area was well signed and marked, with painted lines and arrows where appropriate. On Harewood Avenue, on the north side of the intersection there was a painted stop line and pedestrian crosswalk for southbound traffic. All signs and markings were in good condition. The traffic flow was moderate to heavy at the time of the collision. The roads were dry at the time of the collision. The road condition was not a factor in this collision. The weather was hot and clear, and the collision occurred at about noon during daylight.
The area of impact (AOI) was determined by scratches and gouges in the asphalt which were created as the motorcycle fell over onto its right side and struck the ground during the collision. The AOI was within the intersection, in line with the centre of westbound lane 3 of Kingston Road, and in line with the centre line of Harewood Avenue on the north side of Kingston Road. The AOI was located to the passenger side rear of the final resting position of the police vehicle. The AOI was consistent with the motorcycle having travelled westbound on Kingston Road in lane 3 and struck the police vehicle which travelled eastbound on Kingston Road and executed a left turn from the left turn lane onto Harewood Avenue. There was very little debris from this collision, which was found at or near the AOI. A pair of sunglasses believed to have been worn by CW #1 was in the roadway to the northeast of the AOI. CW #1’s helmet with the keys to the motorcycle inside was on the ground. The limited field of debris was consistent with a low speed/minor damage collision. There was one straight, single tire mark found, which led to the AOI. The tire mark was from the motorcycle and was about two metres in length. It was not clear if the tire mark was from the front or rear tire of the motorcycle, or if the front and rear tires both locked, slid and overlapped. The tire mark was in line with the centre of westbound lane 3. The width of the tire mark was consistent with the width of a motorcycle tire where the tire mark started. The tire mark widened slightly at the AOI consistent with the forward shift of the weight of the motorcycle, and with the front of the motorcycle striking the police vehicle and the tire being forced downwards. The tire mark was consistent with a locked and sliding tire, which would have occurred when the Complainant applied the brakes immediately before the collision when the collision was imminent. The length of the tire mark was consistent with a motorcycle that was not traveling at a high rate of speed when the operator braked heavily. There were no post-impact tire marks. There was a scratch located to the north of, beside and parallel with, the tire mark from the motorcycle. The scratch was 1.2 metres in length and consistent with a foot peg or similar metal assembly protruding from the right side of the motorcycle as the motorcycle began to tip over immediately prior to the motorcycle colliding with the police vehicle as CW #1 applied the brakes and skidded. There were a few fresh drops of blood on the ground beside the police vehicle and in front of the motorcycle consistent with the Complainant having sustained a laceration during the collision.
As seen on the ICCS, the motorcycle was visible on the systems of SO’s and WO #4’s vehicles for about one second prior to the collision and travelled at what appeared to be a constant velocity in westbound lane 3. At that time, the motorcycle was seen passing on the passenger side of a vehicle, which had stopped in westbound lane 2. The motorcycle was approximately even with a tree on the northeast corner of the intersection which was visible on both ICCS videos. Using Google Earth Pro, the distance between the point where the motorcycle was first visible in westbound lane 3 to the AOI was about 13.5 metres. If the motorcycle travelled 13.5 metres in about one second, the motorcycle travelled at about 48 km/h.
At 11:57:01 a.m., from a stopped position across westbound lane 1, the SO accelerated across westbound lane 2 and then across lane 3. At 11:57:03 a.m., as the police vehicle was across lane 3, the collision occurred. Using Google Earth Pro and the SIU FI drawing, the distance in which the SO accelerated from a stopped position to the AOI was found to be about eight metres. Considering the police vehicle accelerated about eight metres in about two seconds, the SO’s police vehicle would likely have accelerated from a stop to between about 31 km/h and 35 km/h, when the collision occurred. The SO arrived at the intersection, slowed, stopped, and waited for westbound traffic for about 15 seconds prior to the collision.
The speed of the police vehicle and the speed of the motorcycle, calculated from the images on the ICCS, were consistent with the physical evidence from the collision at the scene. It would appear from the ICCS that the front passenger side wheel of the police vehicle may have driven over the Complainant’s leg as the police vehicle came to a stop. It appeared from WO #4’s ICCS that the SO’s left turn indicator may have been activated while he turned; however, it was not determined with certainty if the SO’s turn signal was activated.
Other than the speed of the police vehicle and the motorcycle, which were calculated based on the images captured on the ICCS, no mathematical collision reconstruction calculations of speed were conducted for this report. No surveillance video was collected for this investigation. The physical evidence from the collision investigation and reconstruction were consistent with a finding that the SO did not observe the motorcycle approaching from the opposite direction due to the position in which the other westbound vehicles were stopped.
ICCS videos for the police vehicles operated by the SO and WO #4
One TPS fleet vehicle was operated by the SO. The camera faced forward and was mounted in the centre of the dashboard. It afforded a view out the front windshield, and a second camera had a view of the rear seat and cargo area. At 11:56 a.m., the video commenced (apparently as a result of the g-force experienced by the police vehicle during the MVC). The camera recording was obtained for 30 seconds prior to the MVC. The SO turned left onto Kingston Road, from St. Clair Avenue, and immediately after the turn, the SO changed into a marked left turn lane for Harewood Avenue and slowly approached in the intersection which was about 100 metres east of St. Clair Avenue East. Heavy traffic travelled westbound on Kingston Road towards St. Clair Avenue East. The SO stopped briefly in the intersection. A white cargo van in the westbound lane 1 travelled through the intersection. A mid-sized dark-coloured SUV, which followed the white cargo van, stopped in lane one prior to entering the intersection as if to not block the intersection and let the SO turn left. The SO slowly moved forward into his left turn motion and partially across westbound lane 1, where the SUV had stopped. An older model Toyota Rav4, light in colour, travelled westbound in lane 2, and slowed and stopped, even with the SUV, which had stopped in lane one. The SO gradually accelerated across the rest of lane 1 and then across lane 2. An ambulance and a marked police vehicle [now known to be that of WO #4] were on the northwest corner of Kingston Road and Harewood Avenue. They could be seen parked about 30 to 50 metres west of the intersection. As the SO crossed lane 2, the motorcycle first became visible and travelled westbound in lane 3. The speed of the motorcycle was reasonably consistent with that of the previous traffic seen westbound. The motorcycle was about even with the Toyota and was about to enter the intersection. The SO continued across lane 3 and travelled towards the northbound lane of Harewood Avenue. At 11:57:03 a.m., the MVC occurred as the rear-view mirror of the motorcycle was briefly seen at the passenger side front corner of the police vehicle. There was an audible crashing sound. CW #4’s head contacted the engine hood. The camera shook. The SO immediately stopped, and his microphone was activated. The clicking sound of an activated turn signal was not heard. The SO exited the police vehicle, went around the front of the police vehicle to the passenger side and asked CW #4 and the Complainant if they were okay. The SO notified the dispatcher of the MVC. One of the paramedics from the parked ambulance walked over to the scene. A female police officer [now known to be WO #5] ran over to the scene. A male police officer [now known to be WO #4] walked over to the scene. The SO said he was okay, and such things as, “Accidents happen,” “It sucks that it happened of course,” and, “Tomorrow is my last day,” before retirement. The SO was not heard to discuss the MVC.
The other TPS fleet vehicle was operated by WO #4. At 11:53 a.m., the vehicle’s ICCS commenced, and the date and time were displayed on the player below the video. WO #4 arrived on the scene of the previous call on Harewood Avenue west of Kingston Road near the DQ restaurant. The police vehicle faced the intersection of Harewood Avenue and Kingston Road and the ICCS recorded. A second police vehicle also arrived. WO #4’s microphone was activated. He had conversation with a male and he told the male that a crisis team was on scene. An ambulance arrived on scene and pulled into a parking lot next to the west curb of Harewood Avenue and facing the intersection. At 11:56 a.m., the SO travelled eastbound on Kingston Road and pulled up to the intersection of Harewood Avenue. As seen on the SO’s ICCS, the SO slowed and stopped briefly. At 11:57 a.m., the SO started to turn. The SO’s police vehicle did not appear to display a turn signal. Through the trees on the left side of the screen it was observed that some westbound traffic had stopped prior to entering the intersection. As the motorcycle was about even with the other stopped westbound traffic, the motorcycle came into view and travelled westbound in lane 3. The motorcycle entered the intersection at what appeared to be a constant speed that was consistent with the other westbound traffic previously seen. There was a brief tire screeching sound consistent with a locked and sliding tire and then the motorcycle struck the police vehicle. The SO’s police vehicle lurched from side to side as it came to a stop. A male voice, perhaps WO #4, said, “Oh my God.” WO #5 and WO #4 and the paramedic from the driver’s side of the ambulance approached the scene. The traffic that had been stopped westbound accelerated and continued prior to any police officer other than the SO having any contact with CW #1 and the Complainant. WO #4’s microphone did not pick up any discussion regarding the MVC.
Police Communications Recordings
Police Radio Transmissions
Materials obtained from Police ServiceUpon request the SIU obtained and reviewed the following materials and documents from TPS:
- Two Computer-assisted Dispatch (CAD) Event Details Reports (Threaten Suicide);
- Two CAD Event Details Report (Collision);
- Communications Audio;
- Global Positioning System (GPS) / Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL) Data for the SO’s cruiser;
- MVC report;
- Notes-all WOs;
- Notes-the SO;
- Procedure - Use of Service Vehicles;
- TPS Drone Photographs;
- TPS ICCS Recordings;
- TPS Mechanical Exam regarding the SO’s police vehicle; and
- TPS Mechanical Exam regarding Honda Motorcycle.
Materials obtained from Other SourcesIn addition to the materials received from the TPS, the SIU obtained and reviewed the following materials from other sources:
- Medical documentation from SHSC; and
- Ambulance Call Reports from the Toronto Emergency Medical Services.
At the same time, the SO, en route to deal with a call for service involving a person having threatened suicide, was alone in his police vehicle – a marked SUV – traveling eastward on Kingston Road toward Harewood Avenue. The SO pulled into the left turn lane, stopped briefly and then drove into the intersection slowly and into his turn ahead of a westward vehicle that had stopped to let the officer by. When a second westward vehicle in the middle of the three westbound lanes did the same, the SO moved further into his turn and then across the curb lane. As he did so, the SO’s SUV collided with CW #1’s motorcycle which had entered the intersection.
The collision between the front passenger corner of the police vehicle and the motorcycle occurred in the middle of the intersection in the westbound curb lane. Both CW #1 and the Complainant were thrown from their motorcycle and suffered injuries in the collision; CW #1’s were deemed non-serious for purposes of the SIU’s jurisdiction. The SO did not sustain any serious injury in the collision.
Section 320.13, Criminal Code – 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. As a crime of penal negligence, criminal liability for the offence is predicated, in part, on conduct that amounts to a marked departure from the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the circumstances. It is plain and obvious that neither the Complainant nor CW #1 are to blame for their motorcycle’s collision with the police cruiser. By all accounts, CW #1 was traveling safely at moderate speed when he lawfully entered the intersection intending to continue west past Harewood Avenue.
On the other hand, there is a heavy onus on motorists, including police officers in the execution of their duties, to refrain from making left turns unless it is safe to do so. It is not clear to me that the SO met his burden in embarking on the turn. I accept that the SO, having cleared two westbound lanes in front of traffic that had stopped for him, believed it was safe for him to proceed when he maneuvered into the curb lane to complete his turn; indeed, it is likely that the stopped motorists may well have created a sightline obstruction between the police cruiser and the advancing motorcycle. Be that as it may, having entered into a turn in circumstances in which he could not be assured there was no oncoming traffic in the curb lane, it strikes me that the SO is largely responsible for the collision that occurred.
The situation might have been different had the SO’s emergency lighting or siren been on as he entered the intersection. Not only might the sights and sounds of the SO’s vehicle have alerted CW #1 to the SO’s presence in the intersection, perhaps averting a collision, it would have created a positive duty on motorists in the vicinity to give way to the police cruiser. Regrettably, the emergency lights and siren were not on at the time.
Notwithstanding the officer’s seeming indiscretions, the evidence does not establish that the SO’s driving departed markedly from a reasonable level standard of care. Though the SO ought to have used his emergency equipment, and ought not to have started into his turn without assuring himself that it was safe to cut across all three lanes of westbound traffic, his miscalculation can fairly be characterized as more in the nature of a misjudgment than recklessness. For example, the SO proceeded with deliberate pace through his turn before entering into the curb lane, demonstrating a degree of vigilance. Moreover, there is no indication of any careless or dangerous driving on the SO’s part in the moments before the collision. As for the environmental conditions, aside from vehicular traffic that seems to have been on the heavy side, these were of little consequence in the analysis of the reasonableness of the SO’s conduct: the roads were dry and the weather was clear.
In the result, I am unable to reasonably conclude that the SO’s lapses transgressed the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law when weighed in the balance with the aforementioned extenuating considerations. Accordingly, while I accept that the SO caused the collision that regrettably caused serious injuries to the Complainant, there are no grounds for proceeding with criminal charges against the SO. The file is closed.
Date: October 20, 2020
Electronically approved by
Special Investigations Unit
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.