SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-PVI-119
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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 the serious injury a 17-year-old man (the “Complainant”) suffered.
Notification of the SIUOn April 12, 2021 at 7:10 p.m., the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) reported that OPP officials from the Hawkesbury Detachment had attempted a “rolling block” on two stolen vehicles near County Road (CR) 17, east of the town of Alfred and west of CR 4, just west of the town of L’Orignal. The block failed and OPP officials were told to stand down. OPP officials then attempted to “spike” both stolen vehicles with negative results and both suspect vehicles fled at a high rate of speed eastbound on CR 17.
One of the stolen vehicles lost control approximately 2.4 kilometres from the spike belt attempt, and overturned in a nearby ditch.
Immediately after the collision, a male suspect exited the vehicle, attempted to run away and was apprehended by Hawkesbury Detachment OPP officials.
The male was checked over by paramedics and deemed healthy. As a precautionary measure, the male was conveyed to the Hawkesbury General Hospital and underwent a computed tomography scan that revealed he had a fractured rib on his right side.
The second stolen vehicle fled and was never located.
The OPP had released and cleared the scene before SIU notification.
Date and time team dispatched: 04/13/2021 at 5:07 p.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 04/14/2021 at 5:45 p.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 0
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):
17-year-old male interviewed
The Complainant was interviewed on April 15, 2021.
Civilian Witnesses (CW)
CW #1 Not interviewed (Next-of-kin)
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Interviewed
The civilian witnesses were interviewed on June 14 and 15, 2021.
Subject Officials (SO)
SO #1 Declined interview, as is the subject official’s legal right. Notes received and reviewed
SO #2 Declined interview, as is the subject official’s legal right. Notes received and reviewed
Witness Officials (WO)
WO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
The witness officials were interviewed on April 27, 2021.
CR 17 is a predominantly four-lane paved roadway with two lanes westbound and two lanes eastbound. It is a rural area with clear road markings via a solid centre line dividing west and eastbound lanes and soft shoulders with clearly marked fog lines. The posted speed is 90 km/h.
This incident began on CR 17 just east of the town of Alfred and concluded just west of the town of L’Orignal at the intersection of CR 17 and CR 4.
It was a clear sunny day, the roads were dry, and vehicular traffic was minimal.
No SIU personnel attended this scene.
Crash Data Retrieval (CDR) DataSIU investigators were advised by the OPP via email on April 23, 2021, that no CDR data were retrieved by them from the crashed vehicle.
Summary of OPP Global Positioning System (GPS) Data Record April 12, 2021 OPP Vehicle Operated by SO #2
The data record commenced at 9:20:07 a.m. and ended at 9:39:38 a.m. Relevant portions began when SO #2 reported to his Communications Centre at 9:23:06 a.m. that he was following a stolen vehicle eastbound on CR 17 at Blue Corner Road and Pelodeau Road, towards Hawkesbury. GPS data indicated his speed at that time to be 122 km/h.
GPS data indicated his speeds to then decrease over the next five minutes to the posted speed of 90 km/h and less.
At 9:27:49 a.m., SO #2 advised that his speed was 90 km/h. The GPS data indicated the speed to be 98 km/h at this point. Over the next two minutes, the GPS data indicated his speed to increase to 121 km/h.
At 9:29:01 a.m., SO #2 advised that his lights had been activated. GPS data indicated his speed then decreasing from 121 km/h to 72 km/h.
At 9:29:29 a.m., SO #2 advised that the vehicle was fleeing. GPS data indicated SO #2’s speeds increasing from 72 km/h to 143 km/h at 9:29:50 a.m.
OPP Provincial Communication Centre (PCC) Sergeant ordered the pursuit terminated at 9:30:00 a.m. GPS data indicated SO #2’s speed as 0 km/h at 9:30:21 a.m.
At 9:32:18 a.m., the PCC advised that “units can resume following at normal speeds”. GPS data then indicated SO #2 vehicle back in motion and, over the following one minute, attaining a speed of 124 km/h.
At 9:34:03 a.m., WO #1 advised over the police radio that “an MVC has occurred involving the fleeing white Toyota Highlander”.
At 9:34:05 a.m., GPS data indicated SO #2’s speed at 0 km/h. It remained there until the data printout ended at 9:39:38 a.m.
Summary of Police Communications Recordings The recording was 18 minutes and 34 seconds in length. It was not time stamped. Times in brackets were derived from the OPP Computer-assisted Dispatch (CAD) and Event Chronology Reports, and, therefore, are not necessarily synchronous with the events in question.
(9:22:58 a.m.) – SO #2
Currently on 17 eastbound going towards Hawkesbury, following two Toyota vehicles. First one I’m following is reported stolen and I believe the one in front of it is reported stolen.
SO #1 and WO #2 responding to assist.
One Toyota white colour, one Black male driving. The one I’m following right now is a white Toyota 4 Runner. Passing Alfred now. Speed 90 km/h.
(9:25:38 a.m.) – WO #3
You can attach me on that as well.
(9:25:53 a.m.) – SO #2
Can WO #3 and SO #1 set up just west of L’Orignal in case they start taking off.
I see WO #1 coming up first behind me if you can get up here with me, we can attempt a rolling block.
PCC Sergeant monitoring. I understand you have two suspected stolen vehicles?
One confirmed and the one in front of it is not confirmed.
I understand you are setting up alternatives. Great job guys. No pursuit but feel free to use all the alternatives as you deem appropriate.
Smith’s Falls Communications Centre
We will just have a 10-3 until you get these guys stopped.
(9:28:17 a.m.) - WO #2
Setting up spikes just west of County Road 11. We are using a large sign in a ditch here to take cover.
(9:29:01 a.m.) - SO #2
Get ready they are coming now—my lights activated—I’m slowing down, almost stopped…They are going now (siren now heard in background).
(9:29:29 a.m.) - SO #2
OK Comm Centre they are not stopping—they are going eastbound, the Highlander is over in the westbound lanes, we are going 135 km/h.
(9:30:00 a.m.) – PCC Sergeant
As I said before, don’t pursue, so if you are following the vehicle, immediately terminate the pursuit, pull over to the side of the road, deactivate your lights and siren and call in your mileage.
(9:30:07 a.m.) - SO #2
They just went past, around the spike belts and almost hit oncoming traffic. Last seen eastbound at CR 11.
Ok guys, just wait there and wait for further instructions. There are guys up ahead that can try alternatives. Go ahead, no pursuits.
(All involved units began calling in their end mileage as instructed.)
We just going to slowly proceed east sir, not following.
(9:30:27 a.m.) - WO #2
The Highlander passed me—spike belt deployed - no success.
(9:31:00 a.m.) – WO #1
We are just on CR 4 and people are waving at us-possibly an MVC with the Highlander. We will advise.
(9:34:03 a.m.) - WO #2
Yea, one car totally flipped, can you send an ambulance please.
(9:34:48 a.m.) - SO #2
Have one 10-92, the one male involved in the accident. Can you send an ambulance to CR 4 just as a precaution.
Yea, the white 4-Runner was last seen heading eastbound, not sure if he took the Highway 34 exit.
(10:05:10 a.m.) – WO #1
Paramedics advise no major injuries on the arrested party, minor cuts and bruises, but they are transporting him to hospital as a precaution.
The remainder of the recording consisted of arrangements being made for scene security, requests for tow trucks to attend collision scene, and attempts to confirm the identity of the arrested party and to have Montreal Police and Surete Quebec check addresses for the outstanding vehicle.
Cell Phone PhotographA cell phone photograph taken by CW #2 of the Complainant running away from the collision scene was forwarded to SIU Investigators.
Materials Obtained from Police Service
Upon request, the SIU received the following materials and documents from the OPP between April 23, 2021 and May 10, 2021:
• Communication Recordings;
• Event Chronology;
• GPS Data (x5)
• Notes-SO #2;
• Notes-WO #3;
• Notes-WO #1;
• Notes-WO #2;
• Notes-SO #1;
• CAD Chronology Report;
• OPP Email dated April 23, 2021-no CDR data taken from crashed vehicle; and
• General Occurrence Report.
At about 9:20 a.m. of April 12, 2021, SO #2 was in his cruiser in Alfred monitoring CR 17 for traffic infractions. He observed two white SUVs operated by young persons traveling east and decided to follow them. The officer checked the licence plate of one of the vehicles against police records and learned that it had been reported stolen. SO #2 radioed for assistance and began to pursue the SUVs with the intention of stopping them.
Both SUVs were, in fact, stolen. The one that SO #2 had confirmed as stolen was a Toyota 4-Runner. The other SUV was a Toyota Highlander. It was being operated by the Complainant.
SO #1 and WO #1 heard the call for help, and made their way in separate vehicles from the OPP Hawkesbury Detachment west toward the area of the pursuit. They brought their cruisers to a stop east of SO #2’s last reported location, and positioned them facing east. As the SUVs approached, followed by SO #2’s cruiser, the officers pulled out onto the roadway traveling slowly.
The Complainant and the driver of the 4-Runner briefly slowed behind the cruisers of WO #1 and SO #1 before they accelerated past them via the westbound lane. Westbound vehicular traffic was forced to pull onto the shoulder to avoid head-on collisions with the SUVs.
WO #3 and WO #2 had also heard the call for help and travelled from Hawkesbury west toward the pursuit. Over their radios, the officers heard that the attempt at a rolling block of the SUVs had failed and that the vehicles were still eastbound with the officers behind them. Just west of CR 11, the officers stopped their cruisers and decided to deploy spike belts across the two eastbound lanes. At about the same time, a sergeant monitoring the pursuit from the communications centre directed that it be discontinued.
The Complainant and the driver of the 4-Runner once more veered into the westbound lanes, this time to avoid traveling over the spike belts. They continued at speeds well in excess of the 90 km/h limit eastward on CR 17. As they approached the roadway’s intersection with CR 4, the vehicles again crossed into the westbound lane to overtake a tractor-trailer before re-entering the eastbound lane behind a dump truck, narrowly avoiding a collision with a westbound vehicle. Shortly thereafter, they travelled onto the gravel shoulder of the eastbound lane around the dump truck, kicking up dust and debris in the process and forcing the driver of the tractor-trailer behind them to pull over.
Just west of the roadway’s intersection with CR 4, the Complainant lost control of the Highlander, and rolled the vehicle several times before it came to rest on its driver’s side in the southside ditch of CR 17. The Complainant removed himself from the vehicle, crossed over CR 17, and attempted to flee the area. He had fractured a rib in the collision.
A minute or two after the collision, the first of the OPP cruisers that had been engaged with the SUVs arrived at the scene of the wreck. Civilians in the area pointed in the direction of the Complainant and he was quickly apprehended by officers without incident.
Section 320.13, Criminal Code – Dangerous operation of motor vehicles, vessels and aircraft
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 a want of care in the manner in which SO #2 and SO #1 engaged with the Complainant that caused or contributed to the collision and/or was sufficiently egregious as to attract criminal sanction. In my view, there was not.
SO #2 and SO #1 were in the lawful discharge of their duty as they each embarked on their respective efforts to stop the Complainant. The Complainant was operating a stolen vehicle and there were grounds to believe he had committed a criminal offence.
Thereafter, I am satisfied that the officers comported themselves with due care and regard for public safety. The decision to attempt a rolling block, a tactic whereby police vehicles surround a vehicle and eventually bring it to a stop via gradual deceleration, was not unreasonable in the circumstances. There is no evidence to suggest that the Complainant had been driving recklessly prior to that time, which might have given the officers pause about the safety of a rolling block, and traffic was relatively light. It was only after the failed rolling block, in which the SUVs veered onto oncoming lanes of traffic and accelerated to grossly excessive speeds, was it apparent that the Complainant was not intent on stopping and was prepared to drive dangerously to get away. SO #2 and SO #1 picked up their pace to chase after the SUVs, reaching speeds upwards of 140 km/h, but were quickly directed to stand down by a senior officer monitoring the pursuit from the communications centre. During that short period of time, not longer than 30 to 60 seconds, it does not appear that any third-party was imperiled by the officers’ speeds. The decision to discontinue the pursuit was a wise one, in my view, given the offence in question was a property crime and what was by then clear evidence of dangerous driving behaviour on the part of the SUV drivers. Regrettably, even after they avoided the spike belts and it was clear that the police were nowhere near them, the SUVs continued to drive recklessly at speed. The Complainant travelled onto the southside gravel shoulder, lost control of the Highlander, and rolled the vehicle, seriously injuring himself. As the officers had disengaged and, in fact, did not arrive at the wreckage until one or two minutes after it had occurred, there is no suggestion that they caused or contributed to the collision. Nor is there any evidence of any mistreatment or impropriety by the officers in the manner in which the Complainant was arrested and dealt with after the incident.
In the result, as there are no reasonable grounds to believe that either subject official transgressed the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case. The file is closed.
Date: August 6, 2021
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.