SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-OVI-074
This page contains graphic content that can shock, offend and upset.
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.
- 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 investigationsInformation 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 serious injuries sustained by a 69-year-old woman (“Complainant #1”), a 12-year-old boy (“Complainant #2”), and a 30-year-old man (“Complainant #3”).
Notification of the SIUOn March 7, 2021, at 10:05 p.m., the Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS) reported a vehicle-related injury. Reportedly, at 7:52 p.m., DRPS officers responded to Valiant Storage Units (VSU) located at 1580 Victoria Street in Whitby for a report of a suspicious person. While the officers were investigating at VSU, a man [known to be Complainant #3] stole a police vehicle and a pursuit was initiated. The stolen police vehicle was involved in a T-bone collision with a civilian vehicle at the intersection of Garden Avenue and Highway 2 in Whitby. A 69-year-old woman [known to be Complainant #1] in the civilian vehicle had a broken pelvis and a 12-year-old boy [known to be Complainant #2] in the same vehicle suffered a fractured leg. Complainant #3 was taken to the hospital with possible internal injuries. All parties were at Oshawa General Hospital – Lakeridge Health Oshawa.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 03/07/2021 at 10:25 p.m.
Date and time SIU responded: 03/07/2021 at 11:10 p.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 5
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 2
Affected Persons: Complainant #1 69-year-old female declined interview, medical records obtained and reviewed
Complainant #2 12-year-old male, not interviewed
Complainant #3 31-year-old male, interviewed
Complainant #3 was interviewed on March 18, 2021.
Subject OfficialsSO Interviewed, but declined to submit notes, as is the subject official’s legal right.
The subject official was interviewed on April 14, 2021.
Witness OfficialsWO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
WO #4 Interviewed
WO #5 Interviewed
WO #6 Interviewed
The witness officials were interviewed on March 10, 2021, and March 11, 2021.
Service Employee WitnessesSEW Interviewed
The service employee witness was interviewed on March 15, 2021.
The Scene The collision scene was located at the intersection of Dundas Street East and Garden Street in Whitby, Ontario.
Petro Canada CCTVThe gas station was located at the northwest corner of Garden Street and Dundas Street East. On March 7, 2021, the SIU received a copy of footage from the security cameras. The footage had three different camera views from channels 1, 9 and 10.
The recording was from 7:36:40 p.m. to 7:51:19 p.m. The camera view was of the gas pump area and looked out to westbound Dundas Street east, just west of Garden Street. The view of the street was very dark, although the gas pump was well illuminated, and it did not capture the actual intersection of Garden Street and Dundas Street East.
At 7:38:02 p.m., there was a vehicle totally engulfed in flames that travelled quickly past the gas station, westbound on Dundas Street East in the passing lane. There was a large amount of debris, and a smouldering automobile engine flew into the gas station from Garden Street and Dundas Street East. The engine struck the gas pump and rested against the gas pump.
At 7:38:52 p.m., there was flashing blue and red emergency lights reflecting off the gas pumps.
At 7:39:08 p.m., three police vehicles drove west on Dundas Street East from Garden Street. Their emergency lights were activated. About 30 seconds later, an additional three police vehicles with their emergency lights activated followed the first three police vehicles.
The recording was from 7:34:58 p.m. to 7:41:13 p.m. The camera view was looking south toward Dundas Street East and captured the intersection of Garden Street and Dundas Street East. The lighting was good. At 7:37:57 p.m., the traffic lights were green for north and south traffic on Garden Street and red for the traffic east and west on Dundas Street.
At 7:38:02 p.m., a maroon vehicle was southbound on Garden Street and entered the intersection at Dundas Street East. The vehicle was struck on the driver’s side by a police vehicle, driving westbound at a very high rate of speed. The police vehicle entered the intersection on a red light. The police vehicle did not have the emergency lights activated but the white alley lights on the roof bar were illuminated. Due to the collision, the maroon vehicle spun around and struck the centre island on the west side of the intersection, knocking down the steel traffic signal pole. The maroon vehicle came to rest, pointing in a northeast direction. Due to the collision, the police vehicle instantly burst into flames and was engulfed in sparks and smoke, as it continued westbound on Dundas Street East in the passing lane and out of camera view.
At 7:38:49 p.m., a police vehicle arrived on scene. The police vehicle drove westbound on Dundas Street East from east of Garden Street. The emergency lights were not activated. The police vehicle stopped beside the damaged maroon vehicle and activated the emergency lights.
At 7:39:08 p.m., two police vehicles with their emergency lights activated arrived from westbound Dundas Street East and slowed down as they passed the collision scene, then accelerated westbound on Dundas Street East out of camera view. Numerous police vehicles arrived at the collision scene and, about one minute later, four more police vehicles arrived with their emergency lights activated. The four police vehicles passed the collision scene and continued westbound on Dundas Street East out of camera view.
The recording was from 7:34:56 p.m. to 7:42:20 p.m. The camera was located on the roof of the Petro Canada gas station. The view of the camera captured the north and east portions of the intersection of Dundas Street East and Garden Street.
At 7:37:40 p.m., a maroon vehicle approached the intersection southbound on Garden Street at Dundas Street East. At the intersection, there was a left turn lane, a right turn lane and two through lanes. The maroon vehicle was in the curb lane of the through lanes. There was a vehicle in the passing lane, to the left of the maroon vehicle on southbound Garden Street. Both vehicles stopped at the red traffic light at the stop line. There was a red traffic light for southbound Garden Street at Dundas Street East. The maroon vehicle was the first vehicle at the stop line and stopped for the red traffic light.
At 7:37:59 p.m., the traffic light turned green for southbound Garden Street and red for the traffic on Dundas Street. A distance east of the Garden Street and Dundas Street East, there was a police vehicle traveling at a very high rate of speed in the passing lane, westbound on Dundas Street East. The police vehicle did not have the emergency lights activated but the alley lights were illuminated. The vehicle beside the maroon vehicle began to enter the intersection but braked before entering the intersection. The maroon vehicle entered the intersection on the green traffic light, then drove out of the camera view. As the maroon vehicle drove out of camera view, the police vehicle entered the intersection at a very high rate of speed and drove out of camera view.
At 7:38:02 p.m., a large amount of debris scattered across the gas station lot from south to north and in the area of the intersection.
At 7:38:55 p.m., several police vehicles with their emergency lights activated arrived at the collision.
St. Louis Bar & Grille CCTVThe SIU received a copy of the CCTV from four cameras located outside the restaurant. Cameras 12, 13, 14, and 15 provided exterior views.
The stolen police vehicle had roof flood lights activated. At 7:32:04 p.m., the stolen police vehicle entered the plaza from the north driveway from westbound Bond Street West. The stolen police vehicle travelled westbound at the rear of the plaza around the patio of St. Louis Bar & Grille, then eastbound along the front of the plaza toward Stevenson Road. About seven seconds later, a white DRPS SUV followed the stolen police vehicle, then several DRPS SUVs and police vehicles with their emergency lights activated pursued the stolen police vehicle.
Communications Recording – 911 CallsThe DRPS provided a copy of 911 calls on March 7, 2021.
At 7:05 p.m., a caller reported that there was a man trying to enter an office and a vehicle at VSU. The caller asked Complainant #3, “How can I help you?” Complainant #3 was surprised and said he was looking for food. He walked into the site.
The DRPS operator asked if Complainant #3 was still there and the caller said she did not see Complainant #3 leave the site. The operator advised there was an officer on the way. The operator asked if Complainant #3 was on foot or if he had a vehicle. The caller said he was on foot and came from the GO transit parking area.
Communication Recording – Radio TransmissionsThe DRPS provided a copy of the radio transmissions from March 7, 2021. There were no time stamps on the recording.
DRPS communicator advised units that there was a suspicious person at 2001 Victoria Street in Whitby at VSU. A man [known to be Complainant #3] tried to open the office door, and said he was looking for food, after which he walked into the site. Complainant #3 had a bag with him and was still in the mini storage. The caller had not seen him leave. Several units were responding to the call.
The canine officer was doing a drive through. He spoke to the caller and she did not see him leave yet. The officers found an open door and were going to look. The canine unit advised that WO #2’s police vehicle had been stolen by Complainant #3. A sergeant asked if the officers knew Complainant #3’s direction of travel. The communicator said the stolen vehicle was on the train tracks on Stevenson and Gibb, northbound on Stevenson. A sergeant told all the officers responding that the stolen vehicle had weapons inside it.
The communicator advised that Complainant #3 was mapping at Stevenson and King, and asked units to respond. A sergeant asked if Air 1 was available and communicator said Air 1 was not logged on. The stolen police vehicle was now eastbound on King approaching Park. WO #3 asked to be put on the call. The communicator said the vehicle was now going northbound on Park crossing over Bond. It was now westbound on “Bona Vista” approaching Gibbons. The SO said, “I have it.” The communicator said the police vehicle was southbound on Gibbons approaching King and repeated that the vehicle had weapons. A police unit said they were at Park and King and the police vehicle was going the wrong way on King Street. The vehicle was going westbound on King. WO #3 said the police vehicle was northbound on Stevenson.
WO #3 said the police vehicle was now westbound in the plaza, westbound on Bond. The vehicle was in the island by the snake shop and back on the street. A sergeant said he was driving at a high rate of speed at 102 km/h. The traffic was light. A sergeant said he was through Thornton and heading west. The officer said the stolen vehicle was the only vehicle on the road right now and, “He’s flying.” The officer said the stolen police vehicle did not seem like he was going to stop, and he was losing him.
The communicator asked if there were any officers that could get permission from WO #3 to get a unit with a spike belt. The officer said, “He’s way ahead now.” WO #3 advised the officers to give Complainant #3 some rope and let him go because the officers had GPS on him. The officer said, “Yeah, let’s back off because he’s really motoring here.” WO #3 asked for an update and the communicator said the police vehicle was westbound on Dundas at Bowman Avenue passing Anderson and going 171 km/h.
The sergeant directed the units behind him to turn their lights off. WO #3 directed all the officers to shut their lights down and let him run, speculating that perhaps Complainant #3 would “dump” the vehicle. He directed that officers stay out of his sight and track him by GPS, so he could be pinned somewhere.
An unknown unit advised there was a vehicle crash at Garden. The communicator repeated there was a crash at Garden. An unknown unit directed the officers to get to Garden and requested an ambulance attend fast. The communicator asked who was injured. An officer advised there were two people in a vehicle, and they were alert. The police vehicle was on fire and the officers got him out. A sergeant said the officers needed two EMS and to shut down the street west and eastbound. Another sergeant said shut down all lanes. An unknown unit advised the suspect, Complainant #3, was in custody. He was in handcuffs, breathing and conscious.
The sergeant directed all the officers to shut down the street and indicated that they needed fire. The engine rolled over to the Petro Canada gas station lot. The officers needed the fire department for the police vehicle on fire and to get the people out.
A constable said there were shot gun shells going off in the police vehicle. The constable asked whose police vehicle was stolen and the communicator said WO #2’s. The constable asked if there was a rifle or shotgun in the vehicle. WO #2 advised that a rifle with a full magazine was in the passenger seat.
Reconstructionist Report and AnalysisRoad Layout
Dundas Street East was a four-lane paved asphalt road with two lanes eastbound and two lanes westbound for traffic. A solid yellow paint mark delineated the opposing lanes. An intermittent white paint mark delineated the lanes permitting travel in the same directions. Approaching Garden Street there was an additional left turn lane delineated with a solid white paint line and white paint left turn arrows. At the approach to Garden Street, the opposing lanes were delineated by a 1.6-metre-wide concrete median. The total width of Dundas Street Aast was 15.6 metres with the lanes ranging from 3.5 to 4.1 metres wide. The road was straight.
Garden Street intersected with Dundas Street East at near right angles. It was a four-lane paved asphalt road with two lanes for northbound traffic and two lanes southbound traffic. The intersection was controlled by traffic and pedestrian signals, as well as painted pedestrian crosswalks and stop bars located at the intersection.
The roads were bordered by concrete curbs, boulevards and sidewalks. There were functioning streetlights located on the north side of Dundas Street East and the west side of Garden Street.
The posted speed limit was 50 km/h on both Dundas Street and Garden Street.
A 2021 white Ford Explorer [known to be the SO’s police vehicle] was unoccupied facing west in the eastbound left turn lane of Dundas Street East, west of the intersection. There was no damage to this vehicle. The approximate centre of mass was located 8.8 metres west of the west edge of the pavement of Garden Street and 11.3 metres south of the north edge of the pavement of Dundas Street East.
A 2015 white Ford Taurus [know to be WO #2’s police vehicle – stolen police vehicle] was unoccupied facing northeast in the passing eastbound lane of Dundas Street East, west of the intersection. This vehicle was severely damaged and burned out. The approximate centre of mass was located 123.2 metres west of the west edge of the pavement of Garden Street and 8.3 metres south of the north edge of the pavement of Dundas Street East. The complete front end was crushed from top to bottom with the greatest crush on the right front.
The principle direction of force was from right front to left rear. The left rear fender was dented in the shape of a pole immediately behind the left rear door. The left side of the trunk was crushed 1.1 metres deep in the shape of a pole from 13 cm to 66 cm to the right of the left side of the vehicle from top to bottom. The principle direction of force was from rear to front. The left rear tire was flat, and the right front tire was detached and lying near the centre of the road. The remaining tires were inflated. This vehicle was completely burned out and there was no evidence, including airbag control module data, which could be retrieved from it.
A 2015 red Chevrolet Malibu [known to be driven by Complainant #1] was unoccupied facing northwest in the passing westbound lane of Dundas Street East west of the intersection. This vehicle’s front end was severely damaged. The approximate centre of mass was located 11.7 metres west of the west edge of the pavement of Garden Street and 5.9 metres south of the north edge of the pavement of Dundas Street East. A broken traffic signal and pole were lying westward on the centre median on the left side of the Malibu. The Chevrolet Malibu engine was located 15.0 metres west of the west edge of the pavement of Garden Street and 16.9 metres north of the north edge of the pavement of Dundas Street East in the parking lot of the Petro Canada gas station. The complete front end was crushed across its 1.8 metres width with greatest intrusion on the front left side where the crush extended to the driver’s windshield 1.4 metres rearward from the leading edge of the hood.
Figure 2 - The Chevrolet Malibu
The principle direction of force was from left front to right rear. The engine and its components were detached and located in the parking lot of the Petro Canada station at 620 Dundas Street East. There was crush to the left rear fender in the shape of a pole from 60 to 100 cm forward of the rear bumper and from the bottom to the top of the left rear fender 1.0 metres above the ground. The driver’s door was neatly removed to facilitate extrication. The tires were all inflated and appeared to possess sufficient tread depth. The left front tire was detached. The speedometer indicated 20 km/h and the tachometer indicated 2,000 rpm. The odometer and radio could not be checked as there was no motor to power any vehicle functions including the airbag control module. The gear shifter was in park, the windshield wiper switch was off, and the lights were on automatic. The windshield was completely cracked. Both front occupant seatbelts were locked in the retention housing with sufficient loose material to permit occupant usage. Both frontal airbags and side curtains were deployed.
A fresh gouge in the asphalt (area of Impact) was located in the passing westbound lane of Dundas Street East and the passing southbound lane of Garden Street, at a point 6.3 metres east of the west edge of the pavement of Garden Street and 4.0 metres south of the north edge of the pavement of Dundas Street East.
A swirling tire mark 5.4 metres long followed a curved westerly path starting at a point 3.0 metres east of the west edge of the pavement of Garden Street and 4.7 metres south of the north edge of the pavement of Dundas Street East. A swirling tire mark 4.9 metres long followed a curved westerly path starting at a point 3.2 metres west of the west edge of the pavement of Garden Street and 4.7 metres south of the north edge of the pavement of Dundas Street East. A tire mark 92.0 metres long followed a curved westerly path starting at a point 15.5 metres west of the west edge of the pavement of Garden Street and 5.9 metres south of the north edge of the pavement of Dundas Street East.
A tire mark 83.2 metres long followed a curved westerly path starting in the centre median at a point 16.1 metres west of the west edge of the pavement of Garden Street and 7.6 metres south of the north edge of the pavement of Dundas Street East. A utility pole with fresh scrapes on the southeast side and bearing a 50 km/h sign was located 88.4 metres west of the west edge of the pavement of Garden Street and 0.6 metres north of the north edge of the pavement of Dundas Street East. A tire mark 24.1 metres long followed a curved westerly path ending at the above utility pole and starting at a point 64.3 metres west of the west edge of the pavement of Garden Street and 2.7 metres south of the north edge of the pavement of Dundas Street East. A utility pole with fresh scrapes on the southeast side was located 116.5 metres west of the west edge of the pavement of Garden Street and 0.7 metres north of the north edge of the pavement of Dundas Street East.
Airbag Control Module (ACM)
The ACM from the SO’s police vehicle was not downloaded. The stolen police vehicle’s ACM was not downloaded because it was consumed in the fire. The ACM from the 2015 Chevrolet Malibu was not downloaded because the motor and the components were detached and did not allow power to the vehicle.
Petro Canada CCTV
Channel 1 was directed at the gas pump, channel 10 was directed to the southeast from the northeast side of the building and channel 9 was directed to the south from the southwest side of the building.
Speed Analysis from Roadway Evidence
Using published Class 3 crush data for a 2014 Ford Taurus indicating Stiffness Co-efficient A of 189.6 lb/in and stiffness Co-efficient B of 51.7 lb/in2 and rearward crush of 1.1 metre deep over a 53 cm width, the calculated change in velocity of the stolen police vehicle into the second utility pole is 25.6 km/h.
It was 131 metres from the area of impact to the resting location of the stolen police vehicle. Assuming a non braking co-efficient of friction of 0.2, the calculated speed required to travel this distance is 81.3 km/h. Adding the crush change in velocity to the slide speed the calculated speed of the stolen police vehicle immediately west of the area of impact with the Malibu was 106.9 km/h. This speed is consistent with the calculated average time distance speed of 97 km/h over at 43 metre distance west of the area of impact as the stolen police vehicle continued to slow, post impact with the Malibu.
According to GPS data, the stolen police vehicle attained a top speed of 190 km/h, 444 metres east of Garden Street, and the SO’s police vehicle attained a top speed of 173 km/h, 2.2 kilometres east of Garden Street.
Time distance calculations from cameras at the Petro Canada, 620 Dundas Street East, indicate that the stolen police vehicle approached the intersection at Garden Street at an average speed of 180 km/h and the SO’s police vehicle approached the intersection 53 seconds later at an average speed of 97 km/h.
There were no pre-collision tire marks.
The scrape in the passing westbound lane of Dundas Street East and the passing southbound lane of Garden Street is the best indication of the area of impact.
The damage to the front of the stolen police vehicle and the front of the Chevrolet Malibu is consistent with the stolen police vehicle being driven westbound in the westbound lane of Dundas Street East at high speed and striking the left front of the Chevrolet Malibu which was operated southbound in the southbound passing lane of Garden Street. This is confirmed in the Petro Canada video.
The first swirling tire mark leading to the resting location of the Malibu was consistent with being made by the left rear tire of the Malibu. The second swirling tire mark leading to the resting location of the Malibu was consistent with being made by the left front tire of the Chevrolet Malibu. These marks were created as the Malibu rotated clockwise about its vertical axis post impact from the stolen police vehicle. The pole like damage to the left rear fender is consistent with originating from impact with the traffic signal pole.
The reconstructionist concluded that, at about 7:21 p.m., officers attended VSU at Victoria Street East in Whitby for a report of a suspicious person. The weather was clear, and the roads were dry. At the storage facility, WO #2’s police vehicle was left unattended and the engine was left running, and Complainant #3 stole the police vehicle.
The SO was driving on Gibbons Street toward Complainant #3 about one kilometre to the north. He remained about one minute behind as they both drove westbound on King Street West, then northbound on Stevenson Road North, and westbound on Bond Street West to the Island Plaza parking lot at 580 King Street West. In the parking lot, WO #6’s police vehicle was struck by the stolen police vehicle. All the officers drove westbound on King Street West (which changes to Dundas Street East). The stolen police vehicle’s top speed was 190.5 km/h on Dundas Street East, 444 metres east of Garden Street. The SO’s police vehicle top speed was 173 km/h on Dundas Street East, about 2.2 kilometres east of Garden Street.
At about 7:24 p.m., the stolen police vehicle approached the intersection of Garden Street at 180 km/h. The traffic light was red. At the same time, Complainant #1 accelerated her Chevrolet Malibu southbound into the intersection on a green traffic light in the passing southbound lane. Complainant #2 was a passenger in the front right seat of the Malibu. The front right side of the stolen police vehicle struck the left front corner of the Malibu. The impact caused the Malibu to spin clockwise about 450 degrees in a westerly direction and the motor detached. The left rear fender struck the traffic light in the centre median on the west side of the intersection before it came to a stop facing northwest in the passing lane westbound lane on Dundas Street East.
The stolen police vehicle continued driving westbound but reduced its speed to 107 km/h from the westbound passing lane to the westbound curb lane, then rotating clockwise about its vertical axis about 180 degrees. While facing eastbound but travelling westbound, the left rear fender sideswiped a utility pole bearing a 50 km/h sign on the north side of Dundas Street East and continued westbound in a straight line.
The back of the stolen police vehicle struck a second utility pole rupturing the gas tank and the police vehicle rotated clockwise about its vertical axis as it travelled southwest. The stolen police vehicle came to rest facing northeast in the eastbound passing lane of Dundas Street East bursting into flames from the ruptured gas tank.
The SO drove westbound on Dundas Street East as he approached the scene at an average speed of 90 km/h, followed by several other officers.
Materials Obtained from Police Service The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the DRPS between March 8, 2021, and March 11, 2021:
• AVL Data;• DRPS Computer-assisted Dispatch (x2);• DRPS Policy-Arrest_and_Warrant;• DRPS Policy-Motor_Vehicle_Collisions;• DRPS Policy-Police_Vehicle_Operation_and_Safe_Arrival;• DRPS Policy-Suspect_Apprehension_Pursuit;• DRPS-General Occurrence;• DRPS-Record about Complainant #3• DRPS 911 Calls to Police;• DRPS Communication Recordings;• DRPS Scenes of Crime Officer Photos;• Narrative of WOs; and• Notes of WOs.
Materials Obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the following other sources:
• Petro Canada Closed-circuit Television (CCTV) footage;• Rush Trucking Centres of Canada CCTV footage;• St. Louis Bar & Grille CCTV footage; and• Wildfire Steakhouse CCTV footage.
WO #2 and WO #4 made their way to the business in separate cruisers. They spoke with the caller, and then set about looking for Complainant #3. WO #2 located Complainant #3 and left his cruiser running and unattended to pursue him on foot. After a further period of searching, including with WO #4 in his vehicle, WO #2 returned to his cruiser to find that it was gone. Complainant #3 had driven off in it. The officers radioed that the cruiser had been stolen.
Because the cruiser was equipped with a GPS system, the police service was able to track its movements. Hearing that the cruiser was traveling northbound toward his location, the SO turned onto southbound Stevenson Road off of Rossland Road to intercept it. He spotted the cruiser in the distance, tracked it eastward across some side streets, and came across it again on Gibbons Street. The cruiser executed a U-turn on the roadway ahead of the SO and accelerated south toward King Street West, where it turned right and travelled west against the one-way flow of eastbound traffic. The SO followed suit.
Complainant #3 continued west until Stevenson Road where he turned to travel north and then west again on Bond Street West. With the SO and other cruisers behind him, Complainant #3 turned into the Island Plaza parking lot where he circled the mall before emerging back onto Bond Street, colliding with a police cruiser in the process. Complainant #3’s stolen cruiser was also struck from behind as he exited the plaza parking lot by the SO’s vehicle in a failed attempt by the officer to disable it.
A procession of police vehicles chased after Complainant #3 west on Bond Street West until the roadway became King Street West and then Dundas Street East. The pursuit continued at highspeed with Complainant #3 and the SO, who overtook another cruiser in the area of Thornton Road South to lead the police convoy, topping out at speeds upwards of 170 km/h. The speed limit on the roadway was 50 km/h.
Shortly after the SO travelled past Thornton Road South, WO #3 came on the radio to order that the pursuing officers disengage. The SO and the other officers did so.
Complainant #3 continued westward at speed. He entered the intersection of Dundas Street East and Garden Street against a red light traveling in excess of 100 km/h and rammed into a vehicle proceeding south on a green. The collision sent the vehicle – a Chevrolet Malibu – rotating westward into a traffic light pole before it came to rest in the westbound passing lane of Dundas Street East, just west of the intersection. Complainant #3’s stolen police vehicle burst into flames upon impact and travelled further west more than 100 metres before coming to a stop.
The SO, who had continued on Dundas Street East after slowing down and turning off his emergency equipment, was the first officer to come upon the scene of the collision. He quickly radioed for paramedics and attended at the Malibu to render assistance to its occupants.
With the arrival of other officers on scene, Complainant #3 was removed to safety from the cruiser he had stolen, which was engulfed in flames.
Complainant #3 and the occupants of the Malibu, Complainant #1 and Complainant #2, were taken to hospital where they were diagnosed with various fractures and other injuries.
Section 320.13, Criminal Code – Dangerous operation of motor vehicles, vessels and aircraft
Section 128, Highway Traffic Act -- Rate of speed
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 amounts to a marked departure from the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the circumstances. In the instant case, the issue is whether there was any of want of care in the manner in which the SO operated his cruiser that caused or contributed to the collision and/or was sufficiently egregious as to attract criminal sanction. In my view, there was not.
The SO was in the lawful execution of his duties when he initiated a pursuit of the stolen cruiser with the objective of taking Complainant #3 into custody. He had reason to believe that Complainant #3 had just stolen the vehicle. In the circumstances, Complainant #3 was clearly subject to arrest.
Thereafter, I am unable to reasonably conclude that the SO transgressed the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law. He did operate his cruiser the wrong way on a one-way street – King Street between Gibbons Street and Stevenson Road – attempting to keep pace with Complainant #3. That stretch of road, however, was very short – about 400 metres – and there is no evidence of any third-party motorists having had to take evasive action to avoid a collision with the officer’s vehicle.
Of more concern, in my view, was the SO’s speeds while west on King Street West and Dundas Street East. As the officer approached Thickson Road, his velocity reached 173 km/h. At more than three times the speed limit of 50 km/h, I am satisfied that the officer was operating his cruiser dangerously at that time. However, there were a number of extenuating considerations that rendered the SO’s conduct something less than a marked departure from a reasonable standard of care.
For starters, it is important to note that police officers engaged in the discharge of their duties are exempt from the speed limitations pursuant to section 128(13)(b) of the Highway Traffic Act. While this does not mean that police officers may speed as they wish regardless of public safety considerations, it is a mitigating factor in the reasonableness analysis.
There was also some urgency in attempting to stop the cruiser as quickly as possible. Contained in the vehicle was a fully loaded C8 rifle and spare ammunition. Not knowing Complainant #3’s intentions, the SO and the other officers had cause to be seriously concerned with what Complainant #3 might do with the weapon if he were to get away.
The SO’s top speeds occurred over a relatively short distance, in the course of which it does not appear that other motorists were actually placed in immediate jeopardy. The high-speed pursuit itself, from the moment it started in earnest in and around the intersection of Bond Street and King Street West until it was called off east of Thickson Road, was only about 1.7 kilometres. The SO’s upper end speeds occurred over the final fraction of that distance just before the pursuit was called off by WO #3. Thereafter, the evidence indicates that the SO deactivated his emergency equipment and reduced his speed.
Lastly, there is no indication that the SO was ever very close to the stolen cruiser such that it might be said that he unduly pushed Complainant #3. In fact, the SO was about two kilometres from the Garden Street and Dundas Street East intersection when the collision occurred. Complainant #3 had every opportunity to slow down and resile from his reckless course had he been so inclined.
For the foregoing reasons, though the SO’s speed was a cause for concern as he briefly pursued Complainant #3, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the officer comported himself other than lawfully in the course of this incident. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case, and the file is closed.
Date: July 5, 2021
Electronically approved by
Special Investigations Unit
- 1) The following records contain sensitive personal information and are not being released pursuant to section 34(2) of the Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019. The material portions of the records are summarized below. [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.