SIU Concludes Belleville Collision Investigation
Case Number: 06-OVD-082
Five SIU investigators were assigned to probe the nature and extent of police involvement in the events surrounding the collision. The investigation determined that at about 2:40 a.m., three BPS officers responded to a call at the Ten Acres Truck Stop about a suspicious vehicle. Officers determined that the van, a Dodge Caravan, was stolen.
The subject officer was in an unmarked police cruiser and the first to arrive to the area. He broadcast to the others that he saw the van traveling eastbound on Highway 401. The officer followed as it exited southbound onto Front Street North. In the area of Tracey Street, the officer activated the cruiser's emergency lighting to stop the van. He advised his supervisor and the police dispatcher that the van was not stopping and also radioed in his speeds during the pursuit. As the vehicles continued southbound on Front Street North, the pursuit reached speeds in the neighbourhood of 100/km.
The other officers had just approached the area of Front Street North when they heard the subject officer request assistance because there had been a collision. The officers arrived to Pinnacle and Grove Streets and saw the van had struck a tree.
There were two occupants in the van. The driver, Nathanael Wade, died immediately after the collision. The 16-year-old girl, who was a passenger in the van, was taken to hospital where she died later that day.
The distance from the start of the pursuit to the collision scene was approximately 2.1 km.
Based on all the available evidence, Director Cornish concluded the subject officer exercised a reasonable level of care in what was a relatively short pursuit. He said, "The distance between the vehicles increased as the pursuit unfolded such that, just before the van's collision with the tree, the subject officer's cruiser was some significant distance behind the van. Tragically, Mr. Wade lost control of his vehicle as he traveled over the overpass, failed to negotiate the bend in the road and struck a tree, killing himself and his passenger."
The SIU is an independent government agency that investigates the conduct of officials (police officers as well as special constables with the Niagara Parks Commission and peace officers with the Legislative Protective Service) that may have resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault and/or the discharge of a firearm at a person. All investigations are conducted by SIU investigators who are civilians. Under the Special Investigations Unit Act, the Director of the SIU must
- consider whether the official has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation
- depending on the evidence, cause a criminal charge to be laid against the official where grounds exist for doing so, or close the file without any charges being laid
- publicly report the results of its investigations
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342