SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-OVI-276
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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.
- 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 58-year-old man (“Complainant #1”) and a 62-year-old woman (“Complainant #2”).
Notification of the SIUOn August 28, 2021, at 6:30 p.m., the London Police Service (LPS) reported the following.
At 4:09 p.m., an LPS officer was driving westbound on Queens Avenue, responding to a call. The police officer had activated the emergency lights on the police vehicle but not the siren. The police officer failed to stop for a stop sign at Quebec Street and collided with a vehicle driven by Complainant #1.
Complainant #1 was taken to London Health Science Centre - Victoria Hospital with a head injury and was currently awaiting examination under the hospital’s concussion protocol.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 08/28/2021 at 7:30 p.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 08/28/2021 at 9:53 p.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):Complainant #1 58-year-old male interviewed
Complainant #2 62-year-old female interviewed
The Complainants were interviewed on August 30, 2021 and September 1, 2021.
Subject OfficialsSO Interviewed, but declined to submit notes, as is the subject official’s legal right.
The subject official was interviewed on September 27, 2021.
Witness OfficialsWO Interviewed
The witness official was interviewed on September 10, 2021.
The Scene The incident occurred in the intersection of Queens Avenue and Quebec Street, London.
Quebec Street travelled in a north and south direction with Queens Avenue intersecting east and west. Furthermore, Queens Avenue was controlled by a stop sign at the east side of the intersection. Both roadways were two laned and paved, with road markings present. The stop sign for Queens Avenue at Quebec Street was properly posted and visible. Queens Avenue became one lane of one-way traffic on the west side of Quebec Street.
There was a total of two motor vehicles involved, directly contained within the cordoned-off scene. The vehicles were as follows:
Ford Focus (silver)This vehicle was orientated east across two lanes of Quebec Street south of the intersection. There was considerable collision damage to the rear area.
Figure 1 - Complainant #1 and Complainant #2's Ford Focus.
Ford Explorer (white) This vehicle was a marked police vehicle displaying graphics adopted by the LPS. This vehicle was orientated west on Queens Avenue, west of the intersection. There was considerable collision damage to the front-end.
Figure 2 - The SO's Ford Explorer.
Global Positioning System (GPS) / Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL) / Crash Data Retrieval (CDR) Data - Summary There were 91 GPS data points for the LPS police vehicle. The data points were from August 28, 2021 commencing at 4:00 p.m. and ending at 4:08 p.m. The investigator viewed the route the SO drove to the weapons call - westbound on Dundas Street, northbound on Woodman Avenue, and westbound on Queens Avenue to Quebec Street.
According to the GPS data, after turning onto Queens Avenue from Woodman Avenue, the SO travelled about 67 metres westbound, accelerating from about 30 km/h to about 60 km/h. [The intersection of Queens Avenue and Quebec Street was controlled by a stop sign for Queens Avenue, which faced the SO who travelled westbound.]
The GPS data point immediately prior to the SO’s speed showing 0 km/h (after the collision) was captured as the SO entered the intersection of Queens Avenue and Quebec Street at about 60 km/h.
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence The SIU searched for and obtained audio records of relevance, as set out.
LPS Radio Transmissions – 4:05 to 4:14 p.m.A recording without time stamps was received.
The LPS communications centre requested a ‘Code One’ response to King Street, noting a disturbance for a man with a gun. The SO accepted the call and said that the WO would also respond. The LPS communications centre advised that a person in a wheelchair might also have a gun.
The SO stated, “I’m at Queens and Quebec, just got in a collision here with someone.”
The SO requested an ambulance for a man bleeding from his head. The SO responded, “Everything is okay here, just need an ambulance, Code Two, head injury, everybody conscious, breathing and talking.”
Materials Obtained from Police Service The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the LPS:
- AVL/GPS Google Earth Screen Captures;
- Motor Vehicle Accident Report;
- Bosch CDR data;
- GPS Data-the SO;
- GPS Data-the WO;
- LPS Communications Recordings;
- Notes of the WO and two undesignated officers; and
- Occurrence for SIU.
In the afternoon of August 28, 2021, Complainant #1 was travelling southbound on Quebec Street in his Ford Focus. With him in the front passenger seat was his wife, Complainant #2. As their vehicle entered the intersection of the roadway with Queens Avenue, its driver’s side rear was broadsided by a police SUV. The collision sent the Ford Focus spinning toward a fire hydrant at the southwest corner of the intersection, with which it collided, forcing it to an abrupt stop. The cruiser came to a stop on Queens Avenue just west of Quebec Street.
The SO was the driver of the police SUV. With his emergency lights and siren activated, the officer was travelling to the scene of a weapons call at the time. In order to avoid traffic on Dundas Street, the SO had turned north onto Woodman Avenue before turning left to continue west on Queens Avenue, which ran parallel with Dundas Street. The officer drove past the stop sign for westbound traffic at Quebec Street without stopping and collided with the Ford Focus. The time was about 4:08 p.m.
Following the collision, the SO radioed for help and rendered assistance to Complainant #1 and Complainant #2.
Complainant #1 was taken to hospital and treated for a laceration to his head. Complainant #2 sought medical care several days after the collision, and was diagnosed with multiple right-sided rib fractures.
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 question is whether there was a want of care on the part of the SO that caused or contributed to the collision and / or was sufficiently egregious to attract criminal sanction. In my view, there was not.
I accept that the SO was in the execution of his lawful duty as he travelled to the collision site. The officer had been dispatched to a high priority call involving potential firearms.
And while I also accept that the SO acted dangerously in failing to stop at the Quebec Street stop sign, directly causing the collision with the Ford Focus, I am unable to reasonably conclude that the officer’s indiscretion was of a magnitude warranting criminal liability. There is no indication that in his travels to the collision site that the SO drove without regard for public safety. There is no firm evidence, for example, that he disregarded the traffic lights that he would have encountered along the path that he took. Nor is there evidence of significantly excessive speed. In fact, the evidence indicates that the SO was travelling at about 60 km/h at the time of the collision, moderately in excess of the 50 km/h speed limit. Moreover, the officer’s emergency lights and siren were on, a fact that might have averted the collision had there not been overgrown trees and bushes on the northeast corner of the intersection creating a sight obstruction between west and southbound traffic. While it is not clear whether the SO stopped at the preceding stop sign a short distance away, the GPS data suggest that he at least slowed down as he made his turn from Woodman Avenue onto Queens Avenue. On this record, the SO’s lack of care is best characterized as a momentary lapse of attention, which the case law makes clear will generally not constitute a marked departure from a reasonable level of care: R v Beatty,  1 SCR 49; R v Roy,  2 SCR 60.
In the result, though the SO is responsible for the collision and the injuries incurred by Complainant #1 and Complainant #2, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that he transgressed the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges against the officer, and the file is closed.
Date: December 20, 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.