SIU Director’s Report - Case # 20-OVI-352
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Mandate of the SIU
Under the SIU Act, the Director of the SIU must determine based on the evidence gathered in an investigation whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that a criminal offence was committed. If such grounds exist, the Director has the authority to lay a criminal charge against the official. Alternatively, in cases where no reasonable grounds exist, the Director cannot lay charges. Where no charges are laid, a report of the investigation is prepared and released publicly, except in the case of reports dealing with allegations of sexual assault, in which case the SIU Director may consult with the affected person and exercise a discretion to not publicly release the report having regard to the affected person’s privacy interests.
Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019Pursuant to section 34, certain information may not be included in this report. This information may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- The name of, and any information identifying, a subject official, witness official, civilian witness or affected person.
- Information that may result in the identity of a person who reported that they were sexually assaulted being revealed in connection with the sexual assault.
- Information that, in the opinion of the SIU Director, could lead to a risk of serious harm to a person.
- Information that discloses investigative techniques or procedures.
- Information, the release of which is prohibited or restricted by law.
- Information in which a person’s privacy interest in not having the information published clearly outweighs the public interest in having the information published.
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy ActPursuant to section14 (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 that could reasonably be expected to interfere with a law enforcement matter or an investigation undertaken with a view to a law enforcement proceeding.
Pursuant to section 21 (i.e., personal privacy), protected personal information is not included in this report. This information may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- The names of persons, including civilian witnesses, and subject and witness officials;
- 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.
Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004Pursuant to this legislation, any information related to the personal health of identifiable individuals is not included.
Other proceedings, processes, and investigations
Information may also have 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.
A person sustains a “serious injury” for purposes of the SIU’s jurisdiction if they: sustain an injury as a result of which they are admitted to hospital; suffer a fracture to the skull, or to a limb, rib or vertebra; suffer burns to a significant proportion of their body; lose any portion of their body; or, as a result of an injury, experience a loss of vision or hearing.
In addition, a “serious injury” means any other injury sustained by a person that is likely to interfere with the person’s health or comfort and is not transient or trifling in nature.
This report relates to the SIU’s investigation into apparent serious injuries sustained by a 33-year-old man (the “Complainant”).
Notification of the SIUOn December 16, 2020, at 3:52 a.m., the Peel Regional Police (PRP) notified the SIU of an injury to the Complainant.
The PRP advised that on December 16, 2020, at 12:04 a.m., a person called 911 to report they were almost struck by a vehicle believed to be stolen. Police officers attended the scene at Kennedy Road and Steeles Avenue and observed the vehicle driving erratically and at high speeds. Police cruisers activated their emergency equipment but the vehicle [now determined to be driven by the Complainant] did not stop. The vehicle collided with a cruiser a Kennedy Road and Church Street. The pursuit continued west on Williams Parkway and the Complainant’s vehicle again made contact with a second cruiser. The vehicle then mounted the grass medium and struck a cement barrier on the opposite side of the roadway in the area of Kennedy Road and Williams Parkway. The Complainant was taken to St. Michael’s Hospital (SMH) with severe head trauma and internal bleeding.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 12/16/2020 at 4:15 a.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 12/16/2020 at 6:19 a.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 4
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 2
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):33-year-old male, not interviewed (declined)
Subject OfficialsSO Interviewed, but declined to submit notes, as is the subject official’s legal right.
The SO was interviewed on December 29, 2020.
Witness OfficialsWO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
The WOs were interviewed on December 16, 2020, and WO #2 and WO #3 submitted to a second interview on March 30, 2021. The notes from two other officials were also received and reviewed.
At 6:55 a.m., SIU Forensic Investigators arrived at the scene of a single vehicle collision situated 200 metres west of Kennedy Road North on Williams Parkway.
The scene was a straight and level roadway. There were two lanes running west and two lanes running east on Williams Parkway. The lanes were separated by a wide grass median. There were cement sound barriers on the north and south sides of the roadway separating the residential areas from the roadway. The roads were clear and dry, it was cloudy and dark, and the temperature at the time was 11 degrees. The area was lit by overhead streetlamps.
Tire marks were evident on the grass median leading from the westbound lanes of Williams Parkway, across the median and the eastbound lanes, up onto the south sidewalk and grass area, and to the sound barrier on the south side of the roadway.
Figure 2 - Tire marks on the grass median.
Figure 3 - The marked PRP Dodge Charger with damage to its passenger side.
Vehicle two– A Ford E250 cargo van. This vehicle was facing west but was crushed up against the south sound barrier. It was east of vehicle one. The damage to this vehicle was extensive. The entire front end and windshield were severely damaged. Both driver and passenger air bags had deployed. The passenger door was detached and lying on the ground. The van contents were strewn all around the vehicle on the ground. A small amount of a red blood-like substance was noted on the driver’s door by the ‘A’ pillar.
Vehicle three- A PRP unmarked Dodge Charger police cruiser, with ‘ghost markings’ of the PRP. This vehicle was facing west in lane one of the westbound lanes. There was no damage to this vehicle.
Figure 5 - The PRP Dodge Charger with ghost markings.
Additional damage- One full section of the sound barrier next to vehicle two on the north side of the road was completely destroyed, exposing the rear yard of the residence there.
A Total Station was set up to take sufficient measurements to construct a plan drawing of the area and photographs of the scene were taken. Photographs were also taken of an initial collision scene that occurred on Kennedy Road North and Church Street. The PRP cruiser involved with this initial collision was a fully marked and decaled Dodge Charger. This vehicle was facing northeast in the northbound curb lane with its front right tire on the east curb. It had damage to the front end and front right corner. Most of the front bumper was damaged.
The distance from the first collision scene on Kennedy Road North and Church Street to Williams Parkway and west to the second collision scene was measured and found to be 1.8 kilometres.
At 11:15 a.m., the scene was released.
Kennedy Road North and Church Street (secondary scene)On December 16, 2020, at 7:40 a.m., SIU Forensic Investigators attended this secondary scene. The scene was secured with police tape and a PRP cruiser.
Kennedy Road North at this location was two lanes going northbound and two lanes going southbound. The posted speed limit was 50 km/h. Church Street East started and ended at Kennedy Road North and had east and westbound lanes. The intersection was controlled by traffic lights. There was a plaza in the southwest corner, an apartment building in the northwest corner and a school on the east side of Kennedy Road North at Church Street East. The involved vehicle was a PRP marked Dodge Charger police cruiser. The cruiser was positioned in the northbound curb lane on Kennedy Road North on the north side of Church Street East, facing north. The front passenger side tire had mounted the curb. There was obvious damage to the front passenger side corner. Police cruiser debris was observed near the front right corner and just slightly north of it. Photographs were taken at the scene.
Figure 6 - The damaged marked PRP Dodge Charger at the second scene.
Controlled Intersections along Pursuit Route1. Steeles Avenue at Kennedy Road going westbound has a traffic light;
(Distance to Steeles Avenue and Orchard Road is 350 metres).
2. Steeles Avenue at Orchard Road going westbound has a traffic light;
(Distance to Steeles Avenue and Main Street is 1100 metres).
3. Steeles Avenue at Main Street going westbound has a traffic light;
(Distance to Mill Street and Charolais Boulevard is 1000 metres).
4. Mill Street at Charolais Boulevard going northbound has a traffic light;
(Distance to Mill Street at Champkin Street is 260 metres).
5. Mill Street at Champkin Street going northbound has a four-way stop sign;
(Distance to Mill Street at Elgin Drive is 350 metres).
6. Mill Street at Elgin Drive going northbound has a traffic light;
(Distance to Mill Street and Ambleside Drive is 200 metres).
7. Mill Street at Ambleside Drive going northbound has a three-way stop sign;
(Distance to Mill Street at Elizabeth Street South is 650 metres).
8. Mill Street South at Elizabeth Street South going northbound has a four-way stop sign;
(Distance to Mill Street South and Harold Street is 1000 metres).
9. Mill Street South at Harold Street going northbound has a four-way stop sign;
(Distance to Mills Street South and Frederick Street is 1200 metres).
10. Mill Street South at Frederick Street going northbound has a four-way stop sign;
(Distance to Mill Street South at Craig Street is 1500 metres).
11. Mill Street South at Craig Street going northbound has a four-way stop sign;
(Distance to Mill Street South at Wellington Street is 1700 metres).
12. Mill Street South at Wellington Street going northbound has a four-way stop sign;
(Distance to Mill Street South at Queen Street is 1900 metres).
13. Mill Street South at Queen Street going northbound has a two-way stop sign;
(Distance to Mill Street South at Nelson Street is 187 metres).
14. Mill Street South at Nelson Street going northbound has a four-way stop sign;
(Distance to Mill Street South at Church Street is 351 metres).
15. Mill Street South at Church Street going northbound has a three-way stop sign;
(Distance to Church Street at Main Street is 327 metres).
16. Church Street at Main Street going eastbound has a traffic light;
(Distance to Church Street at Union Street is 180 metres).
17. Church Street at Union Street going eastbound has a four-way stop sign;
(Distance to Church Street at Ken Whillians Drive is 179 metres).
18. Church Street at Ken Whillians Drive going eastbound has a three-way stop sign;
(Distance to Church Street at Centre Street is 280 metres).
19. Church Street at Centre Street going eastbound has a traffic light;
(Distance to Church Street at Beech Street is 408 metres).
20. Church Street at Beech Street going eastbound has a four-way stop sign;
(Distance to Church Street at Kennedy Road is 308 metres).
21. Church Street at Kennedy Road going northbound has a traffic light;
(Distance to Kennedy Road at Vodden Street is 761 metres).
22. Kennedy Road at Vodden Street going northbound has a traffic light;
(Distance to Kennedy Road at Townsend Gate is 515 metres).
23. Kennedy Road at Townsend Gate going northbound has a traffic light;
(Distance to Kennedy Road and Williams Parkway is 388 metres).
24. Kennedy Road at Williams Parkway going westbound has a traffic light.
Total distance travelled from the start of the pursuit to the end of the pursuit was about 15,094 metres or 15.09 kilometres.
The SO’s 2019 Dodge Charger The Airbag Control Module (ACM) of the cruiser was downloaded at 12:32 p.m., on December 16, 2020. The download occurred at ignition cycle 1533. No event was recorded, consistent with this vehicle not experiencing a change of velocity of 8 km/h or greater within 150 milliseconds.
The Complainant’s 2007 Ford Econoline Van Power Control Module (PCM)From seven seconds before the beginning of the pre-collision data to 2.6 before the beginning of the pre-collision data the speed of the van increased to 129 km/h with 100% acceleration pedal. The speed then decreased gradually with no braking and a complete reduction in accelerator pedal. At the beginning of the data the speed of the van was 76 km/h and that was its speed at impact. The seatbelt status and the ignition cycles of download and event were not recorded in the PCM.
In the last second before impact, the calculated distance travelled was 22.7 metres. In the previous second it travelled 27.5 metres. In total, the van travelled 50.2 metres in the last two seconds before impact, which placed it close to the beginning of the weight shift marks, consistent with no braking and no accelerator pedal application.
WO #3’s 2016 Dodge Charger The ACM of the cruiser was downloaded at 1:18 p.m., on December 16, 2020. The download occurred at ignition cycle 9202. An event was recorded at ignition cycle 7705. That event was not related to this occurrence. This vehicle did not experience a change of velocity of 8 km/h or greater within 150 milliseconds; therefore, no data were recorded.
WO #2’s 2019 Dodge Charger The ACM of this cruiser was downloaded at 12:20 p.m., on December 16, 2020. The download occurred at ignition cycle 3233. No event was recorded, and this was consistent with this vehicle not experiencing a change of velocity of 8 km/h or greater within 150 milliseconds.
Global Positioning System (GPS) Data for the SO’s cruiserThe GPS data were captured on December 16, 2020.
On December 16, 2020, at 12:07:38 a.m., the SO was doing 50 km/h going westbound on Steeles Avenue. At 12:08:07 a.m., he was doing 35 km/h at Steeles Avenue and Kennedy Road South. At 12:09:10 a.m., the cruiser was doing 34 km/h westbound on Steeles Avenue at Main Street.
At 12:09:29 a.m., the SO was doing 26 km/h westbound west of Main Street. At 12:09:55 a.m., his cruiser was doing 72 km/h heading northbound through the Shoppers World parking lot in pursuit of the Complainant’s van. At 12:10:52 a.m., the SO was doing 76 km/h going north on Mill Street at Ambleside Drive. At 12:11:37 a.m., his cruiser was doing 89 km/h northbound on Mill Street at Frederick Street. At 12:12:06 a.m., the SO had slowed to 35 km/h going north on Mill Street at Queen Street West. At 12:12:22 a.m., the cruiser increased its speed to 117 km/h going north on Mills Street.
At 12:13:12 a.m., the SO turned onto Church Street East from Mill Street heading east doing 92 km/h in pursuit of the Complainant’s van. At 12:13:12 a.m., the cruiser was eastbound on Church Street East doing 92 km/h. At 12:13:36 a.m., the SO was eastbound doing 92 km/h on Church Street East at June Street. At 12:14:21 a.m., the cruiser was doing 21 km/h having turned left on to Kennedy Road North and heading north past Vodden Street East. At 12:14:32 a.m., the SO was doing 101 km/h heading north on Kennedy Road North at Linkdale Road. At 12:15:10 a.m., the cruiser had turned left onto Williams Parkway. It was doing 14 km/h having made the turn heading westbound on Williams Parkway. At 12:16:07 a.m., the SO’s cruiser came to a complete stop and remained stopped. The GPS data ended at 1:00:07 a.m.
GPS data for WO #2’s cruiserThe data were captured on December 16, 2020.
On December 16, 2020, at 12:13:16 a.m., WO #2 was doing 14 km/h going east on Steeles Avenue West. At 12:04:16 a.m., his cruiser was doing 43 km/h headed east on Steeles Avenue. At 12:05:16 a.m., the cruiser was doing 31 km/h headed east on Steeles Avenue. At 12:06:25 a.m., WO #2 continued east doing 63 km/h. At 12:07:15 a.m., he continued east on Steeles Avenue doing 95 km/h. At 12:07:40 a.m., WO #2 was doing 100 km/h headed east on Steeles Avenue just before Kennedy Road South. At 12:08:49 a.m., the cruiser made a U-turn to head west on Steeles Avenue reaching 113 km/h.
At 12:09:16 a.m., WO #2 headed west on Steeles Avenue at Main Street doing 92 km/h. At 12:09:42 a.m., the cruiser was headed north driving through the Shoppers World parking lot doing 82 km/h in pursuit of the Complainant’s van. At 12:10:17 a.m., WO #2 was doing 64 km/h headed north on Mill Street South. At 12:10:49 a.m., he was doing 60 km/h going north on Mill Street. At 12:11:39 a.m., the cruiser was doing 100 km/h headed north on Mill Street South just before Wellington Street. At 12:12:13 a.m., WO #2 continued north on Mill Street doing 108 km/h.
At 12:13:27 a.m., WO #2 was headed east on Church Street doing 105 km/h. At 12:15:16 a.m., his cruiser came to a stop at the intersection of Church Street West and Kennedy Road North. This occurred because WO #2 had collided with the Complainant’s van. WO #2’s cruiser did not proceed any further from this location.
GPS Data for WO #3’s cruiserThe GPS data were captured on December 16, 2020.
On December 16, 2020, at 12:07:11 a.m., WO #3 was doing 24 km/h eastbound on Steeles Avenue West. At 12:07:35 a.m., his cruiser was doing 71 km/h heading eastbound on Steeles Avenue West. At 12:08:11 a.m., WO #3 was doing 105 km/h on Steeles Avenue East at Kennedy Road South. At 12:08:35 a.m., he was doing 106 km/h on Steeles Avenue East headed westbound after making a U-turn. At 12:09:23 a.m., the cruiser was doing 23 km/h on Steeles Avenue West and Main Street South. At 12:09:45 a.m., WO #3 was heading north through the Shoppers World parking lot doing 68 km/h.
At 12:10:11 a.m., WO #3 was heading east on Charolais Boulevard doing 74 km/h. At 12:10:38 a.m., the cruiser was northbound on Mill Street South and Elgin Drive doing 45 km/h. At 12:12:08 a.m., he was northbound doing 60 km/h on Mills Street South and Queen Street West. At 12:12:22 a.m., WO #3 was headed north on Mill Street North and Church Street doing 89 km/h.
At 12:12:45 a.m., WO #3’s cruiser was headed east on Church Street doing 76 km/h. At 12:13:11 a.m., the cruiser was headed east on Church Street at Wilson Avenue doing 84 km/h. At 12:13:34 a.m., WO #3 was headed east on Church Street at June Avenue doing 95 km/h.
At 12:14:09 a.m., WO #3’s cruiser was headed north on Kennedy Road at Vodden Road doing 109 km/h. At 12:14:23 a.m., the cruiser was headed north on Kennedy Road doing 113 km/h. At 12:14:35 a.m., the police cruiser was headed north on Kennedy Road and Townsend Gate doing 79 km/h. At 12:14:57 a.m., WO #3 was headed west on Williams Parkway at Kennedy Road doing 56 km/h. At 12:15:23 a.m. the cruiser came to a stop for well over an hour.
SIU Reconstructionist ConclusionShortly after midnight, December 16, 2020, WO #2 and the SO operated marked 2019 Dodge Chargers and WO #3 operated a 2016 unmarked Dodge Charger, as they pursued a 2007 Ford Econoline van operated by the Complainant, eastbound on Church Street East in Brampton. The Complainant was not wearing a seatbelt.
A top speed of 113 km/h in a 50 km/h zone was achieved by WO #2 and a top speed 117 km/h in a 50 km/h zone was achieved by the SO.
As the Complainant’s van slowly turned northbound onto Kennedy Road North the right front corner of WO #2’s police cruiser impacted the left side panel and driver’s door of the van. WO #2 brought his cruiser to a complete stop at that intersection. From there the SO and WO #3 continued the pursuit of the Complainant’s van northbound on Kennedy Road North. The Complainant turned westbound on Williams Parkway and accelerated to a maximum speed of 129 km/h.
The SO drove his cruiser to the left side of the Complainant and, at some point, the right side of his cruiser came into collision with the left side of the van. It cannot be determined which driver initiated the strike against the other. As a result of the contact, the Complainant’s van went to the right and twice the right front tire struck the north concrete curb. The van rotated counter-clockwise out of control with no braking creating a weight shift mark. At that point the van was travelling 111 km/h and was slowing with no braking. The van travelled southwest across both westbound lanes of Williams Parkway, across the grassed centre medium, across the two eastbound lanes of Williams Parkway, mounted the south curb and travelled across the grassed boulevard and concrete sidewalk. At a point 268 metres west of the west edge of Kennedy Road North and at 76 km/h the left front corner of the van impacted an “I” beam of a concrete sound barrier on the south side of Williams Parkway. The impact bent the “I” beam southwest and caused the concrete slabs held by the beam to be dislodged. The centre of mass of the van came to rest 8.1 metres west of the “I” beam, facing west with its left side against the sound barrier.
The SO’s cruiser was brought to rest facing south across both eastbound lanes of Williams Parkway immediately west of the van. WO #3’s cruiser was brought to rest facing west in the passing westbound lane of Williams Parkway just east of the van.
Video/Audio/Photographic EvidenceThe SIU searched for and/or obtained audio, video and/or photographic records of relevance, as set out below.
Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) video for Kennedy Road NorthThe video recordings were made on December 16, 2020 and had no audio. The time stamps were inaccurate. The recordings contained five different camera locations showing the following:
The recording began at 12:06:52 a.m.
At around 12:08 a.m., either a police cruiser or an emergency vehicle (indistinguishable) drove northbound on Kennedy Road North. Fifteen seconds later, another three police cruisers drove northbound on Kennedy Road.
At 12:07:23 a.m., a police cruiser with its emergency lights on drove past headed north on Kennedy Road North. Ten seconds later, three more police cruisers with emergency lights on drove past headed northbound
The recording began at 12:23:32 a.m.
At 12:31:00 a.m., two police cruisers were seen with their emergency lights on. Thirty seconds later, three or four police cruisers with their emergency lights on drove past. Seconds later, two more police cruisers with roof lights on drove past headed north on Kennedy Road. A few minutes later an ambulance drove past.
The recording began at 12:23:32 a.m.
An emergency vehicle drove past headed northbound on Kennedy Road. Fifteen seconds later, at least 11 emergency vehicles with emergency lights on drove past. Over the next five minutes, four other police or emergency vehicles drove past with roof lights on.
CCTV video from Zum Bus SheltersThe recordings were made on December 16, 2020. They had no audio component. The recordings involved four cameras located at various locations.
Camera 1 - Steeles Avenue at Kennedy Road showing eastbound traffic at 12:07:45 a.m. A white cube van is depicted driving westbound followed by a marked police cruiser with its emergency lights on. The cruiser was about three car lengths behind the van.
Camera 2 - Steeles Avenue at Kennedy Road showing westbound traffic at 12:14:00 a.m. A marked cruiser is depicted driving by heading eastbound followed by a second police cruiser headed in the same direction. Shortly thereafter, five cruisers drove eastbound, some with their emergency lights on. At 12:21:05 a.m., an ambulance drove past with its emergency lights on headed eastbound.
Camera 3 - Queen Street at Kennedy Road showing eastbound traffic at 12:07:43 a.m.. A white van is depicted driving westbound followed by a marked police cruiser with its emergency lights on.
Camera 4 - Queen Street at Kennedy Road showing westbound traffic at 12:07:48 a.m. A marked police cruiser is depicted with its emergency lights on stopped on the road. A police officer appeared to be speaking with the driver of a white vehicle stopped next to the cruiser. Both vehicles were stopped for ten seconds before the cruiser with lights activated pulled in front of the vehicle and both vehicles travelled westbound.
CCTV-Brampton Transit BusesThe SIU received the transit videos from Brampton Transit. The cameras did not capture the police cruisers, or the white van being pursued. Nothing of significance was gleaned from the videos.
Dashcam FootageThe dashcam video had no date or time stamp. It showed a white cube van [believed to be driven by the Complainant] driving in an unknown direction on an unknown road striking the right curb on more than one occasion.
911 CallsThe recordings were obtained from PRP. These recordings were made on December 16, 2020.
On December 16, 2020, shortly after midnight, a man called 911. He reported an impaired driver driving an older white cube van [now determined to be driven by the Complainant]. The man reported that the Complainant had nearly collided with his vehicle and was swerving all over the road.
A request for an ambulance was made to attend at Williams Parkway near Kennedy Road North involving a man [known to be the Complainant] unconscious in a van. A rush request for an ambulance and the fire department was made. In turn, the dispatcher advised that the ambulance and fire department were on Williams Parkway just east of Kennedy Road North.
A call was placed to Public and Community Services advising Williams Parkway was shut down for some time.
A call was made to advise dispatch that the Complainant was being transported to SMH at 3:39 a.m.
A call was made to the fire department to advise that Williams Parkway at Kennedy Road North was closed. A call was made requesting a drone vehicle to the scene.
A call was made to obtain two tow trucks for the cube van and the damaged cruiser.
Communications RecordingsThe recordings were made on December 16, 2020.
At 12:04 a.m., a man reported an impaired driver [now determined to be the Complainant] driving southbound on Rutherford Road South at Orenda Road. The Complainant was driving a van and had driven through a red traffic light almost colliding with the caller. The Complainant’s van was also swerving from lane to lane as it drove along.
At 12:07 a.m., someone reported the van passed Kennedy Road and did not stop.
At 12:08 a.m., WO #3 reported he was not in pursuit of the Complainant’s van. The van was going about 100 km/h and it drove through a red traffic light heading westbound on Steeles Avenue. Traffic at the time was light.
At 12:09 a.m., the Complainant was described as a white man wearing a green-coloured hoodie. He was seen driving the van through the parking lot at Shoppers World Brampton. The van struck several curbs as it drove northbound. An unknown police officer reported the Complainant ran through a stop sign going about 90 km/h. Then, the Complainant’s van ran through a red traffic light at Elgin Drive heading north past Elizabeth Street South.
At 12:10 a.m., an unknown police officer reported no traffic and no pedestrians. the Complainant’s van ran a red traffic light and drove eastbound on Church Street. The van was seen swerving all over the road and driving into oncoming traffic lanes. An unknown police officer suggested a stop stick be used at Bramalea Road and Queen Street.
At 12:14 a.m., the dispatcher advised the licence plate on the van came back as stolen. Police officers were advised, if they were pursuing the van because it was stolen, to stop. However, if they were pursuing the van because the driver was impaired to continue and reassess the situation as it unfolded.
At 12:15 a.m., WO #3 reported the van made full contact and came to a stop, at Kennedy Road North on Williams Parkway. An ambulance was requested, and traffic was being stopped in both directions. The Complainant was reported as being unconscious but breathing. A rush was put on the ambulance and fire department was needed to extract the Complainant.
At 12:18 a.m., WO #2 reported over the police radio his police cruiser was disabled. He was at the intersection of Kennedy Road North and Church Street. Someone else confirmed the collision on Williams Parkway was a single vehicle crash.
At 12:29 a.m., an unknown police officer reported the fire department was working on the Complainant and the Complainant had been extracted from the van. The Complainant was placed in an ambulance and was transported to SMH with life threatening injuries.
Materials Obtained from Police ServiceThe SIU obtained the following records from the PRP between December 16, 2020 and January 15, 2021:
- Collision Report;
- GPS/ Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL) Data-WO #2;
- GPS AVL Data-WO #3;
- GPS AVL Data-the SO;
- Notes (diagrams)- the SO;
- Notes of WOs and two undesignated officers;
- Communications Audio Report (x3);
- PRP Event Chronology;
- PRP Occurrence (x2);
- PRP Person Details-the Complainant;
- PRP Policy-Suspect Apprehension Pursuit;
- PRP Pursuit Policy;
- PRP photographs of scene;
- PRP Scene Video;
- Statement of Civilian Witness (x2);
- Training Summary-WO #2; and
- Training Summary-the SO.
Materials Obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the following other sources:
- CCTV footage - Kennedy Road North;
- CTV-Brampton Transit Buses;
- CTV-Bus Shelters; and
- • Dashcam Footage.
Shortly after midnight on December 16, 2020, the PRP received a 911 call from a motorist. The caller reported an impaired driver operating a cube van in the area of Rutherford Road South and Orenda Road. According to the caller, the van was swerving all over the road and striking curbs, and had travelled through a red traffic light and almost struck his vehicle. The Complainant was the driver of the van.
Officers were made aware of the call and began responding to the area. The SO was the first to encounter the vehicle traveling south past his northbound cruiser on Resolution Drive. The officer executed a U-turn and began to follow the van south and then west as it turned onto Steeles Avenue. At a point west of Kennedy Road, with his emergency lights and siren activated, the SO pulled alongside the driver’s side of the van and signaled at the Complainant to pull over. The Complainant failed to do so. Shortly thereafter, noticing another cruiser behind the van, the SO maneuvered in front of two civilian vehicles and began to decelerate to a stop. The van, which was behind the civilian vehicles, slowed momentarily but then changed lanes and drove around the roadblock.
WO #3 was the officer in the cruiser directly behind the van. Behind him were WO #2 and the SO. All three cruisers, with their emergency lights and sirens on, followed the van west on Steeles Street and watched as it travelled through a red traffic light at Main Street South. The convoy of police cruisers continued through the intersection and then turned north into the Shoppers World parking lot still in pursuit of the Complainant.
At Charolais Boulevard, the vehicles exited the parking lot and continued northward on Mills Street South until Queen Street, thereafter, turning right and then left to travel north on Mill Street North. The Complainant, with the officers in tow, turned right to travel eastward on Church Street.
As the pursuit neared the intersection of Church Street and Kennedy Road, and the Complainant turned left through a red light, WO #2, then the lead cruiser, decided to make physical contact with the van. The front end of the officer’s cruiser struck the driver’s side of the Complainant’s vehicle. The van was spun 180-degrees but was not disabled. The Complainant quickly regained control of the vehicle and proceeded to accelerate northward on Kennedy Road. WO #2’s cruiser was damaged in the collision and unable to continue. The officer remained stationary in the intersection with his emergency lights on.
WO #3 and the SO continued the chase after the van north on Kennedy Road and then west on Williams Parkway. By this time, the SO had passed WO #3 and was the lead officer in pursuit. A short distance west of the intersection, the SO drove alongside the driver’s side of the van. His intention was to position his cruiser ahead of the vehicle to attempt a tandem stop with WO #3’s cruiser behind the Complainant. Those intentions never materialized. Instead, the Complainant, driving in the curb lane, turned the van left into the passenger side of the SO’s cruiser. Upon impact, the officer braked, corrected his direction of travel by turning his wheels to the right, and came to a stop. The van struck the northside curb and began to rotate counter-clockwise as it crossed the west and eastbound lanes of Williams Parkway along a southwest trajectory, jumping the southside curb and smashing into a concrete sound barrier lining the north end of residential properties.
Following the collision, the SO positioned his cruiser facing south across the eastbound lanes of travel, just west of the wreckage. WO #3 stopped his vehicle facing west in the westbound passing lane, east of the collision. The SO went to the van and observed the Complainant slumped behind the steering wheel, unconscious but breathing.
Firefighters, paramedics and additional police officers arrived at the scene. The Complainant was extracted from the van and transported to hospital where he was diagnosed and treated for serious injuries.
Section 320.13, Criminal Code – Dangerous operation causing bodily har,m
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 an offence of penal negligence, liability for the crime requires something more than a mere departure from the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the circumstances. Rather, what is required is conduct that amounts to a marked deviation from a reasonable level of care. In the instant case, the issue is whether the SO exhibited a want of care in the manner in which he pursued the Complainant that caused or contributed to the collision and/or which was sufficiently egregious as to attract criminal sanction. In my view, he did not.
While there are aspects of the SO’s driving that are subject to legitimate scrutiny, I am unable to reasonably conclude on balance that the officer transgressed the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law. The SO was within his rights in initiating a pursuit of the Complainant and his van. Based on what he had been advised via dispatch regarding the reckless driving behaviour of the Complainant, the officer had good cause to believe that the Complainant was impaired and that the continued operation of the van represented a serious danger on the roadways.
I am not so certain that the SO had similar grounds to justify attempting a tandem stop of the van with the use of civilian vehicles. While west on Steeles Avenue, west of Kennedy Road, the SO maneuvered in front of two civilian vehicles and intentionally slowed to a stop, causing the civilian vehicles to do the same. The objective was to have the Complainant’s van boxed-in between the civilian vehicles and WO #3’s cruiser, directly ahead of and behind the van, respectively. The tactic carries with it the possibility of vehicular contact and its attendant risks. One questions the prudence of involving third-party civilians, without their consent or knowledge, in such a maneuver. Moreover, it does not appear that WO #3 was even aware of the SO’s plan, in which case it would appear the civilian motorists were put in harm’s way without any forethought or planning. As it turned out, perhaps because WO #3 was unaware of what was happening and therefore not in place to effectively close the distance with the van from behind, the Complainant was able to evade the roadblock without much trouble.
The SO travelled in excess of the speed limits at points during the pursuit, at times, significantly so. For example, while northbound on Mills Street North, the officer’s cruiser reached a top speed of 117 km/h, in a 50 km/h zone.
There is also evidence that the SO travelled through stops signs and possibly even red traffic lights without first coming to a stop, as he was obligated to pursuant to sections 136 and 144(20) of the Highway Traffic Act. While neither the officer nor WO #2 and WO #3 mentioned any such conduct in their interviews, it seems to me a likely possibility on the basis of the GPS data relating to the SO’s speeds and the fact that he was able to keep pace with the van, particularly as the vehicles travelled north on Mill Street. Needless to say, such conduct is inherently risky to public safety.
On the other side of the ledger, the dangers created by the aforementioned-behaviour on the part of the SO were mitigated to a greater or lesser extent by a number of extenuating considerations. For starters, it bears noting that police officers in the lawful execution of their duties are exempt from the speed limitations under section 128(13)(b) of the Highway Traffic Act. While the section does not confer free rein on officers to speed as they wish without regard to public safety, I am satisfied that the SO fell within the four corners of the immunity for a number of reasons. First, the officer had his emergency lights and siren on throughout most of the pursuit, giving notice to motorists in the vicinity. Second, traffic was non-existent to very light throughout the pursuit given the time of day, affording the officer some additional latitude in terms of his speeds. Third, though the pursuit occurred at night, the roadways were dry and the weather was clear. That is to say, the environmental conditions did not, on the whole, unduly exacerbate the dangers associated with the SO’s speeds. The same can be said of the effect of these factors with respect to the evidence of the SO traveling through one or more stop signs and red traffic lights without stopping.
It is also the case that the involved officers kept the communications centre updated on the speeds involved in the pursuit and the Complainant’s driving behaviour. That information would have placed senior officers in a position to make informed decisions about the pursuit, principally, whether it should be terminated.
Finally, and most importantly, the pursuit was motivated by the need to apprehend a suspected impaired driver. The SO had a decision to make. He could discontinue the pursuit at the first sign that the Complainant was not going to stop for the police, perhaps when he was first seen going through the red light on Steeles Avenue at Main Street South, and risk the possibility that an unchecked the Complainant would hurt or kill someone. Or he could continue, knowing that any pursuit, and particularly one in which the vehicles were traveling well in excess of the speed limit and through controlled intersections without stopping, brings with it a level of risk to the public. Given that the Complainant’s reckless driving behaviour had been on display well before the involvement of the police officers, it seems to me that the SO’s decision to continue with the pursuit until its conclusion was not without its logic. For these same reasons, I am satisfied that the tandem stop the SO was attempting on Williams Parkway as he pulled up alongside the van in an effort to get in front of it, was not without merit. By this time, the pursuit was several minutes old and it was imperative that it come to an end, safely, as soon as possible. On this occasion, it should be noted, there were no civilians placed in any jeopardy by the tactic.
In the final analysis, I am not satisfied for the foregoing reasons that the SO’s indiscretions were such as to render his conduct a marked departure from a reasonable level of care in the circumstances. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges against the officer, and the file is closed.
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.