SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-OVI-286
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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 19-year-old man (“the Complainant”).
Notification of the SIUOn September 2, 2021 at 3:30 a.m., the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) notified the SIU of a collision involving one of their police vehicles, resulting in injuries to another motorist.
The HRPS reported the incident occurred on September 1, 2021 at approximately 8:55 p.m. An HRPS police cruiser was travelling eastbound [note: the police vehicle was actually travelling westbound] on Steeles Avenue East when a motor vehicle being driven by the Complainant was travelling southbound on James Snow Parkway [note: the civilian vehicle was travelling on Cleve Court]. The Complainant disobeyed a stop sign and collided with the HRPS cruiser.
The Complainant was taken to the Milton District Hospital (MDH), where he was diagnosed with a broken pelvis and a fractured ear.
The HRPS advised that HRPS collision reconstruction investigators and forensic identification officers had attended the scene and, at the time of the notification to the SIU, were close to completing their investigation.
The involved police officer was identified as the Subject Official (SO).
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 09/02/2021 at 3:52 a.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 09/02/2021 at 5:00 a.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 1
Number of SIU Collision Reconstructionists assigned: 1
SIU investigators arrived at the scene at 5:00 a.m. The scene was examined and photographed by an SIU forensic identification investigator, and a Total Station device was used to map the scene. An SIU Collision Reconstructionist was asked to attend the scene to download the airbag control modules from the two involved vehicles. The Collision Reconstructionist also examined the scene in order to prepare a report.
Workplaces in the area were canvassed for video recordings of the incident, and a relevant video recording was obtained. The SO’s vehicle was equipped with an in-car camera system (ICCS), and a recording from that system was provided to the SIU.
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):19-year-old male interviewed; medical records obtained and reviewed
The Complainant was interviewed on September 2, 2021.
Subject OfficialsSO Interviewed, and notes received and reviewed
The subject official was interviewed on September 23, 2021.
Witness OfficialsWO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #3 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #4 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #5 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #1 was interviewed on September 23, 2021.
The SceneAt the scene, Steeles Avenue is oriented in a north/south direction. However, Steeles Avenue is named Steeles Avenue East at this location, and it is generally considered (by HRPS officers) to have an east and west orientation. Discussions that follow in the report will regard Steeles Avenue as being oriented in an east/west fashion, to avoid confusion.
Cleve Court intersects the north side of Steeles Avenue in an almost perpendicular fashion. Southbound traffic entering Steeles Avenue is controlled by a stop sign. On the south side of Steeles Avenue there is a complex containing several truck sales and service companies, including trucking company Pride Fleet Services.
Tire marks on the roadway were consistent with the SO travelling westbound (downward in diagram) and coming into contact with the 2007 Toyota Camry operated by the Complainant as it crossed Steeles Avenue southbound (to the right in the diagram). After the collision, the SO’s unmarked 2017 black Ford Expedition travelled into the south ditch. The Complainant’s vehicle rotated to the right and came to rest on the traffic median of Steeles Avenue.
There was significant crushing damage across the front end of the SO’s vehicle. The air bags did not deploy in the SO’s vehicle. There was also significant crushing damage to the driver side of the vehicle the Complainant was operating. The side airbags did deploy in the Complainant’s vehicle.
Figure 1 - The 2007 Toyota Camry operated by the Complainant.
Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL) DataThe HRPS provided Global Positioning System (GPS)-based AVL data from the fleet vehicle that had been operated by the SO on the evening of September 1, 2021.
GPS data were captured and recorded by the HRPS at a rate of approximately one point every five seconds, or approximately every 125 metres, while the vehicle travelled westbound on Steeles Avenue.
The GPS data revealed the SO had turned onto Steeles Avenue East from Trafalgar Road. The SO travelled very consistently at approximately 90 km/h, apparently in the curb lane.
At approximately 8:53 p.m., the SO approached the intersection of Steeles Avenue and Cleve Court. The final GPS data point prior to the collision at Cleve Court was captured as the police vehicle was approximately 60 metres east of the intersection. The SO was travelling at approximately 90 km/h.
The remaining data points were post-impact, and therefore of no assistance.
Collision Reconstructionist ReportThe SIU Collision Reconstructionist attended and examined the scene. He downloaded the data recorded in the airbag control modules from both involved vehicles and reviewed the AVL GPS data from the SO’s vehicle.
The airbag control module data from the vehicle operated by the Complainant revealed the Complainant was wearing his seat belt. Between three and four seconds prior to the collision, the brake was not applied, the vehicle speed was 0 km/h and the Complainant began to accelerate. Approximately two seconds prior to the collision, the Complainant pressed and moderately increased pressure on the accelerator pedal, and the speed of the Toyota he was operating increased from approximately 8 km/h to approximately 30 km/h.
The data from the SO’s police vehicle indicated the SO was wearing his seat belt. Five to four seconds prior to the collision, the SO travelled straight ahead at approximately 91 km/h, with the accelerator pedal evenly depressed. Approximately three seconds prior to the collision, the SO’s speed increased to 92 km/h. Approximately one and one-half seconds prior to the collision, the SO removed his foot from the accelerator pedal, and approximately one second prior to the collision, he steered to the left. Approximately one half second prior to the collision, the SO applied the brakes, and his vehicle slowed to 74 km/h prior to impact.
The SIU Collision Reconstructionist reviewed the in-car camera system recording from the SO’s vehicle, and the police radio communications, and determined both were consistent with the physical evidence at the scene and the data provided by the airbag control modules from both vehicles.
The SIU Collision Reconstructionist concluded the SO had travelled westbound on Steeles Avenue in the curb lane at a speed of 90 to 92 km/h. The SO approached and entered the intersection of Cleve Court. Southbound traffic on Cleve Court was controlled by a stop sign. The Complainant pulled into the intersection at a normal rate of acceleration and speed, travelling across the path of the SO. The SO applied his brakes and veered to the left to avoid a collision; however, a collision occurred in the intersection.
HRPS Communications RecordingsThere were two audio tracks provided by the HRPS.
The first recording was of a phone call made at 8:56 p.m. by a communication worker who made a brief notification to a staff sergeant regarding the collision.
The second recording consisted of the police radio transmissions made between 8:53 p.m. on September 1, 2021 and 3:00 a.m. on September 2, 2021.
At 8:53 p.m., the SO requested that a sergeant attend his location. The SO told the dispatcher he “had a car pull out in front of me. There’s been a collision”.
The remaining police radio transmissions were routine transmissions between the dispatcher and the police officers responding to and investigating the collision.
ICCS RecordingThe HRPS provided an ICCS video recording from the police vehicle operated by the SO. The video recording from the front-facing camera was blurred and almost of no use. The HRPS explained it was likely that the SO had increased the zoom of the camera at some point and had forgotten to reset the zoom level. The picture was mostly grey and black, with coloured blurs that represented vehicle lights.
The police vehicle fleet number, the rate of speed, and the SO’s name were displayed on the recording.
The video recording commenced at 8:53:17 p.m. At 8:53:28 p.m., it appeared the SO was travelling westbound on Steeles Avenue in the curb lane, and he passed an intersection on his right [believed to be Fifth Line North]. His speed was recorded to be 88 km/h.
There were no vehicles travelling westbound ahead of the SO. There appeared to be a vehicle travelling westbound behind the SO but at a distance. There was a moderate flow of traffic eastbound on Steeles Avenue.
As the SO travelled towards the intersection at Cleve Court, it appeared two vehicles turned left, from eastbound Steeles Avenue to northbound Cleve Court. The SO’s speed increased slightly to 89 km/h and then 90 km/h.
As the SO approached Cleve Court there appeared to be headlights (consistent with being from the Complainant’s vehicle) stopped on Cleve Court, facing south. A third vehicle then turned left from eastbound Steeles Avenue to northbound Cleve Court.
At 8:53:47 p.m., the SO reached the intersection at Cleve Court. The headlights from the vehicle on Cleve Court [the Complainant’s vehicle] were visible on the ground in front of the SO. The headlights became brighter, consistent with the Complainant moving forward into the path of the SO’s vehicle. The SO then veered sharply to his left.
At 8:53:49 p.m., two seconds after the SO entered the intersection, the camera shook violently, consistent with a collision impact. The SO’s speed was recorded to be 90 km/h at the time. The audio portion of the recording began with the sounds of the collision.
The SO’s vehicle continued and came to rest in a ditch.
At 9:00 p.m., the video recording ended.
Pride Fleet Services video recordingOn, September 2, 2021, at 12:26 p.m., Pride Fleet Solutions forwarded a copy of their exterior surveillance system video recording. The video was date and time stamped, in colour, and contained no audio. The recording captured the collision.
The recording started at 8:46:03 p.m. The camera view recorded the entrance of the trucking complex. Four large truck tractors parked near the entrance to the complex partially obstructed the view of the intersection of Cleve Court and Steeles Avenue East.
At 8:53:43 p.m., a set of headlights from the 2007 grey Toyota Camry operated by the Complainant were visible at the northwest corner of Cleve Court and Steeles Avenue East.
At 8:53:44 p.m., a vehicle travelling eastbound on Steeles Avenue East turned northbound onto Cleeve Court.
At 8:53:45 p.m., the unmarked black 2017 Ford Expedition operated by the SO was travelling westbound on Steeles Avenue East and entered the intersection after the eastbound vehicle had completed its northbound turn. The SO’s vehicle did not have the emergency equipment lights activated as he travelled along Steeles Avenue.
The SO’s vehicle collided with the driver’s door of the Complainant’s vehicle. The SO’s vehicle came to rest in a ditch, facing southwest. The Complainant’s vehicle came to a stop out of camera view.
Materials Obtained from Police ServiceThe SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the HRPS:
- A copy of the communications recordings;
- A statement taken from the Complainant;
- AVL/GPS Data;
- ICCS footage;
- Motor Vehicle Collision Report;
- A list of involved police officers;
- Notes of all designated witness officials; and
- Statement of Witness (x2).
Materials Obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the following other sources:
- Surveillance video recording from Pride Fleet Services, a trucking company located on the south side of Steeles Avenue; and
- Medical records from the MDH.
In the evening of September 1, 2021, the SO was on-duty travelling westbound on Steeles Avenue East toward Cleve Court in Halton Hills. His speed was in the area of 90 km/h as he approached the intersection. The roadway was governed by a 70 km/h speed limit.
At the same time, the Complainant was stopped on Cleve Court facing south at the Steeles Avenue East stop sign. He was intending to execute a left turn onto the roadway to travel east. After several vehicles completed left-hand turns onto northbound Cleve Court, the Complainant entered the intersection and was struck in the westbound lanes of Steeles Avenue East by the SO’s cruiser.
The collision propelled the Complainant’s vehicle’s westward where it came to a rest on the concrete median dividing east and westbound traffic west of the intersection. The SO’s cruiser entered the ditch on the south side of Steeles Avenue East.
Paramedics attended the scene and took the Complainant to hospital. He was diagnosed with a fractured pelvis and bleeding in an ear.
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 the SO operated his cruiser that caused or contributed to the collision and/or was sufficiently egregious to attract criminal sanction. In my view, there was not.
The SO may have been travelling 20 km/h above the speed limit, but his indiscretion was not of a magnitude to attract criminal sanction. He entered the intersection with the right of way, was driving over dry roads in clear conditions, and had a reasonable expectation that the Complainant would yield to his vehicle. While a lower speed might well have provided the officer an additional window of opportunity to adjust to the Complainant’s unexpected conduct, the SO’s velocity was not such that it would have prevented a reasonably alert driver in the Complainant’s position being aware of the need to give way. Simply put, the SO was there to be seen – his headlights on – and it remains unclear why exactly the Complainant acted as he did.
In the result, as there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the SO transgressed the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law, there are no grounds for proceeding with criminal charges in this case. The file is closed.
Date: December 29, 2021
Electronically approved by
Special Investigations Unit
- 1) This speed was consistent with the speed recorded by the police vehicle’s air bag module. [Back to text]
- 2) 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.