SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-TVD-289
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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 the death of a 24-year-old man (the “Complainant”).
Notification of the SIUOn September 3, 2021 at 7:45 p.m., the Toronto Police Service (TPS) reported the following.
On September 3, 2021 at 5:35 p.m., a TPS officer – the Subject Official (SO) - was driving a marked scout car westbound on College Street and attempting to make a left-hand turn onto southbound University Avenue. The officer waited until the traffic signal turned red before turning. A motorcyclist, tentatively identified as someone from Waterloo, believed to be travelling eastbound on College Street, struck the police vehicle as it went through the intersection. The motorcyclist was taken to St. Michael’s Hospital by paramedics, and was in surgery.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 09/03/2021 at 8:00 p.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 09/03/2021 at 10:44 p.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 4
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 1
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):24-year-old male, deceased
Civilian WitnessesCW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Interviewed
CW #4 Interviewed
CW #5 Interviewed
CW #6 Interviewed
CW #7 Not interviewed (Next-of-kin)
CW #8 Not interviewed (Next-of-kin)
The civilian witnesses were interviewed between September 15, 2021, and September 27, 2021.
Subject OfficialsSO Interviewed, and notes received and reviewed
The subject official was interviewed on December 9, 2021.
Witness OfficialsWO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
The witness officials were interviewed on September 29, 2021.
The SceneAt 10:40 p.m., an SIU Forensic Investigator (FI) arrived at the scene and met with TPS Traffic Services Officers.
The scene had been properly secured and guarded by TPS Officers.
University Avenue travelled primarily in a north/south direction. It was a six-laned roadway with a centre median. There were three lanes travelling in either direction. The roadway surface was level and in good condition, and pavement markings were clear and visible.
College Street intersected in an east/west direction and was a four-laned roadway. The roadway surface was level and in good condition, and pavement markings were clear and visible. The intersection was controlled by traffic lighting that appeared functional.
There were two involved vehicles within the confines of the secured scene. There were two other vehicles relevant to the TPS investigation also within the confines of the scene.
Vehicle 1 was a black 2016 Honda R5C motorcycle. This vehicle was oriented in a southwest direction lying on its right side in the 2nd southbound lane of University Avenue in the intersection. There was extensive front-end collision damage to this vehicle. There was a tire mark nearby that indicated this vehicle had been travelling east on College Street when entering the intersection.
Figure 1 - The Complainant's motorcycle with extensive front-end damage.
Vehicle 2 was a grey/white 2020 Ford Explorer (a TPS unit). This vehicle was oriented south on University Avenue south of the intersection in the passing southbound lane. There was collision damage to the passenger side of this vehicle and front wheel.
Figure 2 - The SO's TPS Ford Explorer with passenger side collision damage.
Figure 3 - Close-up of the collision damage to the SO's TPS Ford Explorer.
Vehicle 3 was a TTC streetcar. This vehicle was oriented east on the eastbound rails of College Street immediately west of the intersection. There was no collision damage to this vehicle.
Vehicle 4 was a TPS unit. This vehicle was placed on the scene post incident by a TPS officer.
The scene was photographed and mapped by the SIU.
TTC Streetcar VideoOn September 10, 2021, the TTC provided the SIU with ten video files that were recorded by a streetcar. The video files commenced at approximately 5:15 p.m., and concluded at approximately 5:50 p.m. The views captured were of the front roadway, the inside of the streetcar, the various streetcar doors, and the rear of the streetcar looking out from the inside.
None of the views captured the collision.
Cam 01, 03, 04, 05, 08 and 09 all captured the Complainant passing the streetcar. Cam 09 captured the Complainant travelling northbound on McCaul Street and turning right to travel eastbound on College street at 5:33:35 p.m. At 5:33:46 p.m., the Complainant passed the streetcar and was no longer captured by Cam 09.
TPS In-car Camera System (ICCS) VideoOn September 15, 2021, the TPS provided the SIU with ICCS footage from the police vehicle operated by the SO during the collision. The following is a summary of the salient portions of the videos.
- 5:33:13 p.m. The SO’s cruiser is westbound on College Street travelling slowly due to traffic. He is approximately 140 metres from the point of impact.
- 5:33:37 p.m. The SO arrives at the intersection of College Street and Queen’s Park, to his right, and University Avenue, to his left. This is a large intersection with the north and southbound lanes divided by a median/parkette. The traffic signal is green, and left-hand turns are clearly marked as prohibited.
- 5:33:38 p.m. The SO’s cruiser is approximately halfway through the intersection when the traffic signal turns to yellow. It appears that the Complainant’s motorcycle is eastbound on College Street and approximately 100 metres from the intersection.
- 5:33:41 p.m. The SO’s cruiser is well into the intersection when the traffic signal changes to red. The Complainant’s motorcycle appears to be approximately 35 metres from the intersection.
- 5:33:42 p.m. The Complainant’s motorcycle enters the intersection on a red light while the SO is making a prohibited left-hand turn.
- 5:33:43 p.m. The Complainant’s motorcycle collides with the front passenger side fender area of the SO’s cruiser.
- 5:33:55 p.m. The SO brings his cruiser to a stop just south of the intersection, on University Avenue, after the collision has occurred.
Communication RecordingsAt 5:35:07 p.m., the SO radios that a motorcycle has hit his vehicle and that the motorcyclist may not be breathing.
At 5:35:36 p.m., there is a request of EMS.
Queen’s Park VideoThe SIU obtained two video files from video cameras positioned at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario building. The videos captured the same incident from slightly different angles. The salient portions of the videos are as follows.
- At 5:28:19 p.m., the east and westbound traffic on College Street was moving on green lights while the traffic signals for south and northbound traffic on University Avenue were red.
- A white southbound sedan facing south on University Avenue [believed to be CW #1’s vehicle] was stopped.
- A marked TPS vehicle [now known to be the SO’s police vehicle] could be seen travelling westbound on College Street, approaching the University Avenue intersection. Its emergency lighting was not activated.
- The SO made a left turn to travel south on University Avenue.
- The SO’s police vehicle was across the eastbound lanes of College Street when a motorcycle travelling eastbound on College Street entered the intersection and collided with the passenger side of the SO’s police vehicle.
- The SO drove southbound on University Avenue a short distance and pulled over to the left curb.
- At 5:28:59 p.m., the recording ended.
Materials Obtained from Police Service and Legislative Protective Service (LPS)The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the LPS and the TPS:
- Computer-assisted Dispatch (CAD) Event Details Report;
- CAD Unit History Report;
- Information of LPS Peace Officer (x2) (LPS);
- Notes of the SO; and
- Notes of WOs and an undesignated official (LPS).
Materials Obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU also obtained the Preliminary Autopsy Findings report, dated September 4, 2021, from the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service.
At about 5:30 p.m. of September 3, 2021, the SO was in his cruiser – a marked TPS SUV – en route to relieve a fellow officer at St. Michael’s Hospital. He was travelling west on College Street intending to make a left-hand turn onto University Avenue. The officer entered the intersection on a green light, travelled past the northbound lanes of University Avenue, and started into his turn as the light turned to red.
At about the same time, the Complainant was operating a motorcycle eastward on College Street approaching University Avenue. Travelling in the curb lane past a streetcar stopped in the passing lane, the Complainant entered the intersection on a red light.
The SO had crossed the eastbound passing lane and was into the curb lane when his cruiser’s passenger side was struck by the Complainant’s motorcycle.
The Complainant was propelled from the motorcycle, which came to rest in the middle southbound lane of University Avenue in the intersection. Realizing his vehicle had been struck, the SO continued a short distance south, brought his vehicle to a stop in the southbound passing lane of University Avenue, and exited to render assistance.
Paramedics and firefighters arrived at the intersection, and the Complainant was transported to hospital.
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 death contrary to section 320.13(3) of the Criminal Code. Simple negligence will not suffice to make out the offence. Rather, what is required, in part, is 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 is sufficient evidence to reasonably establish a want of care on the part of the SO that caused or contributed to the Complainant’s death and was sufficiently egregious to attract criminal sanction. In my view, there is not.
The SO bears some responsibility for the collision. Knowing full well that left-hand turns were prohibited at that time, the officer chose to disregard the law and embark on his turn. He was not responding to any emergency at the time, and should have known better than to conduct himself as he did. The SO was also on the phone engaged in a personal conversation with his girlfriend as he approached and entered the intersection. Though perhaps not technically in violation off the rules restricting the use of hand-held communication devices while driving, it is possible the SO was not as focused on the road as he might otherwise have been.
On the other hand, it is important to note that the officer’s approach and attempted turn at the intersection, though prohibited, appear to have been executed with due care and regard for traffic in the vicinity. He entered the intersection lawfully on a green light and was proceeding into his turn as the lights for east and westbound traffic turned red when his cruiser was struck. On this record, though it is perhaps fair to say that the collision would not have occurred but for the SO’s imprudent left-hand turn, it is also fair to observe that he was in no way responsible for the Complainant’s decision to enter the intersection on a red light at speed. In addition, the officer was using his phone ‘hands-free’ at the time – it had been set to speaker mode and was contained in the officer’s vest pocket.
- 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.