SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-TVI-413
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 the serious injuries an 84-year-old man (“Complainant #1”) and 79-year-old woman (“Complainant #2”) suffered.
Notification of the SIUThe Toronto Police Service (TPS) contacted the SIU on December 9, 2021, at about 12:36 a.m., and provided the following information.
On December 8, 2021, at 9:00 p.m., the Subject Official (SO) was operating a TPS fleet vehicle southbound on Avenue Road. Witness Official (WO) #1 was a passenger in the police vehicle. A civilian vehicle operated by Complainant #1 and containing Complainant #2 was travelling northbound. At the intersection of St. Clair Avenue West, Complainant #1 turned left and a collision occurred. The Complainants were taken to St. Michael’s Hospital (SMH). Complainant #2 was intubated and had suffered a fractured pelvis.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 12/09/2021 at 1:04 a.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 12/09/2021 at 2:50 a.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 4
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 1
Number of SIU Collision Reconstructionists Assigned: 1
Affected Persons (aka “Complainants”)Complainant #1 84-year-old male; interviewed on December 9, 2021; medical records obtained and reviewed
Complainant #2 79-year-old female; unable to be interviewed due to medical condition
Civilian Witnesses (CW)CW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Declined to be interviewed; provided statement to TPS
CW #3 Interviewed
The civilian witnesses were interviewed between December 14 and 15, 2021.
Subject OfficialSO Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject official’s legal right
Witness OfficialsWO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #4 Interviewed
WO #5 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #6 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #7 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #8 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
The Scene The collision occurred in the traffic signal light-controlled intersection of Avenue Road and St. Clair Avenue West in the City of Toronto.
The weather was cool. The roads were damp from previous flurries and some areas of sidewalk had a light dusting of snow.
The intersection was a multi-lane intersection with Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) rail tracks running east and west through the intersection. Avenue Road was a north-south road and met St. Clair Avenue West at 90 degrees. The intersection was controlled by traffic signal lights and there were crosswalks on all corners. There were sidewalks directly adjacent to the roads.
Northbound Avenue Road had two through lanes and one for right turns and one for left turns. Southbound had two through lanes and left and right turning lanes. Eastbound St. Clair Avenue West had three lanes, with one being a dedicated left turn lane. Westbound had two through lanes and two turn lanes, one left and one right.
There were four vehicles involved in the collision. Vehicle #1 (the Complainants’ vehicle) was a Toyota Corolla. This vehicle came to rest on the southwest corner facing northwest with the left wheels on the sidewalk. It had heavy front-end damage that was more concentrated to the right front corner. The steering wheel and passenger dash air bags had deployed.
Vehicle #2, the SO’s police vehicle, was a Ford Explorer. This was a grey and white fully marked TPS vehicle with emergency lighting. It came to rest facing northwest in the eastbound lanes of St. Clair Avenue West. The front end was resting against vehicles #3 and #4. It had heavy front-end damage. It was equipped with steering wheel, dash, knee, side curtain and side seat airbags. All the airbags had deployed.
Vehicle #3 (CW #2’s vehicle) was a Honda Pilot. This vehicle was in the eastbound lane of St. Clair Avenue West just before the intersection with Avenue Road. It had minimal damage to the front end and it appeared to have had only slight contact with the police vehicle.
Vehicle #4 (CW #1’s vehicle) was a Ford F150 pickup truck. This vehicle was in the left turn lane for eastbound traffic on St. Clair Avenue West at Avenue Road. It had minimal damage to the front end and it appeared to have had only slight contact with the police vehicle.
There were no tire marks on the road surface and the earliest indication of debris was on the TTC tracks. The debris was in line with the centre southbound lane for Avenue Road. The damage to the vehicles, resting positions and debris indicated the SO’s police vehicle was southbound in the centre lane of Avenue Road. The Complainants’ vehicle was northbound on Avenue Road and turning left (west on St. Clair Avenue West) when the collision occurred. After the collision the Complainants’ vehicle came to rest on the southwest corner and the police vehicle spun into the CW #1’s and CW #2’s vehicles that were in the eastbound lanes of St. Clair Avenue West.
On the southwest sidewalk next to the Complainants’ vehicle were two TPS uniform jackets that were reportedly used on the Complainants during first-aid administered by the police officers.
The scene was photographed showing the location of the vehicles, the damage to each vehicle, the area of impact and the overall intersection.
Figure 1 – The involved vehicles following the collision
Figure 2 – Front end damage to the Complainants’ vehicle
Figure 3 – Front end damage to the SO’s Vehicle
Crash Data Retrieval (CDR) Data WO #7 retrieved air bag control module (ACM) data from the SO’s police vehicle and the Complainants’ vehicle using the CDR system. Copies of the reports were provided to the SIU.
Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL) / Global Positioning System (GPS) Data AnalysisTPS provided the SIU with AVL data from the GPS receiver in the SO’s police vehicle. The AVL data indicated that between 8:57 and 8:59 p.m., the SO exited the parking lot of TPS 53 Division at Eglinton Avenue West and Duplex Avenue, and travelled westbound at speeds of just over 60 km/h. He drove on Eglinton Avenue West for a distance of about 425 metres. From 8:59 to 9:00 p.m., the SO drove southbound on Oriole Parkway to Lonsdale Road and then on to southbound Avenue Road.
The SO slowed at each of the intersections at College View Avenue (3-way stop sign controlled), Tranmer Avenue (no traffic control) and Chaplin Crescent (traffic light controlled). The distance driven from 53 Division along Eglinton Avenue West and southbound on Oriole Parkway to Lonsdale Road was about 1.7 kilometres. The SO drove at speeds in the 50s, 60s and 70s with a maximum recorded speed of 85 km/h. The speed limit was believed to be 40 km/h.
At 9:01:16 p.m. to 9:01:23 p.m., the SO drove southbound on Avenue Road from Lonsdale Road and accelerated from 46 to 88 km/h. The speed limit was 50 km/h. At 9:01:27 p.m., the SO drove southbound on Avenue Road south of Heath Street West. Just south of the front of 500 Avenue Road, the SO drove at 94 km/h.
At 9:01:31 p.m., which was the final pre-collision data point, the SO was southbound on Avenue Road, consistent with being in lane 1 (passing lane), at 96 km/h, about 32 metres from the stop line at the intersection of Avenue Road and St. Clair Avenue West and about 50 metres from the southwest quadrant of the intersection where the collision impact occurred.
SIU Technical Collision Investigation Report Findings The roads were wet at the time of the incident. The weather was cold. The temperature was -2 C degrees. There was light snow on the ground in some areas including on the concrete bed of the streetcar tracks in the centre of St. Clair Avenue West, on the east and west sides of the intersection. The speed limit on Avenue Road was posted at 50 km/h.
The area of the impact between the police vehicle and the Toyota was determined to be in the southwest quadrant of the intersection (about where southbound lane 2 – curb lane - of Avenue Road intersected with the centre of the street car tracks in the middle of St. Clair Avenue West). The area of impact was about 17 metres south of the southbound stop line. The traffic signal light at the intersection appeared to be functioning properly. The amber phase for Avenue Road was about three seconds in duration.
The mechanical inspections of the involved vehicles revealed no defects in either. Multiple air bags had deployed in both vehicles. Using the CDR system, the ACM data in both involved vehicles were downloaded by WO #7. Reports were generated. There was no pre-collision data available from the Toyota due to the age of the vehicle.
As per the CDR reports, Complainant #1 was not wearing his seat belt. This was corroborated in the field notes of WO #7 and by the body-worn camera (BWC) footage of the SO, WO #1 and WO #2, who ran to the Toyota immediately after the collision and found Complainant #1 partially ejected from his seat. Complainant #2 was wearing her seat belt. This was corroborated by the same means.
CDR data from the police vehicle indicated that the SO and WO #1 were both wearing their seat belts. The evidence from the AVL analysis and the CDR download evidence of the SO’s police vehicle were consistent with each other.
Video footage from the in-car camera system (ICCS) in the SO’s police vehicle and WO #2’s police vehicle were also consistent and provided an important visual representation of the location of the SO’s police vehicle as he approached the intersection and the traffic signal light changed from green to amber.
The following is a summary of the evidence regarding the location and rate of speed of the SO’s police vehicle as it approached and entered the intersection and struck the Complainants’ vehicle (see screen capture below).
The third to last AVL data point was captured as the SO was about ten metres north of the stop line for southbound traffic on Avenue Road at Heath Street West. Heath Street West was about 240 metres north of St. Clair Avenue West. The SO travelled at 88 km/h and was about ten seconds from the collision impact. When the SO was just south of Heath Street West, as per the ICCS, the pedestrian control for Avenue Road at St. Clair Avenue West was flashing red. The second to last AVL data point was captured as the SO was about 140 metres north of the stop line for southbound traffic on Avenue Road at St. Clair Avenue West. The SO had increased his speed to 94 km/h. He was about six-and-one-half seconds from the collision impact.
As per the CDR report, five seconds prior to the collision, the SO travelled at 95 km/h and was about 105 metres north of the stop line. The SO’s foot was not on the accelerator pedal at that moment. The SO then applied the accelerator and increased the application of the pedal from ten to 41 percent of full, and then from 43 to 47 percent of full.
At four seconds prior to the collision, the SO’s speed was 95 km/h. He was about 77 metres north of the stop line. He continued to increase the pressure on the accelerator pedal. At three-and-one-half seconds prior to the collision, the SO had the accelerator pedal depressed to about 50 percent of full and his speed was 95 km/h. He was about 65 metres north of the stop line.
At three seconds prior to the collision, the SO took his foot off the accelerator pedal (it then remained off the accelerator). He was about 52 metres north of the stop line. He travelled at 96 km/h. The CDR captured one brief reading of 97 km/h when the SO was about 45 metres north of the stop line. As per the ICCS, the SO was about 40 metres north of the stop line and about 57 metres north of the collision impact when the traffic signal light changed from green to amber and the pedestrian control changed from flashing to solid red. As per the CDR, the SO travelled at 96 km/h. He was about two-and-a-half seconds from the collision.
At 2.2 seconds prior to the collision (about three-tenths of one second after the traffic signal light changed from green to amber), the SO applied the brakes. He was about 30 metres north of the stop line and about 47 metres from the collision impact. As captured on the CDR and on the final pre-collision AVL data point, the police vehicle travelled at 96 km/h. It then began to slow. As per the ICCS, Complainant #1’s vehicle appeared to commence his left turn across the path of the SO’s police vehicle at about the same time as, or shortly after, the traffic signal light changed from green to amber.
At 1.4 seconds prior to the collision, the anti-lock brake system in the police vehicle activated, indicating that the SO applied the brakes heavily and the SO steered gradually and then sharply to the right. At one second prior to the collision, the SO was still on the brakes and turning slightly to the right. The police vehicle travelled at 84 km/h and was at the stop line, about 17 metres from the collision impact. At about one-half second prior to the collision, the police vehicle’s stability control engaged, likely due to the SO’s increased steering input. At about the time of the collision impact, the SO travelled at 61 km/h, with the brakes applied heavily and the steering wheel turned sharply to the right.
The writer made the following findings based on the evidence. The SO travelled at about 96 km/h as he approached the intersection. The pedestrian control was flashing red. Almost immediately after the traffic signal light changed from green to amber, the SO applied the brakes. Complainant #1’s vehicle appeared to commence his left turn. It was not known if the SO applied the brakes in reaction to the change in the colour of the traffic signal light or if the SO reacted to the movement of the Complainants’ vehicle. Whatever it was the SO reacted to, both had occurred at about the same time, with perhaps the traffic light changing just prior to Complainant #1 commencing his turn.
Given that the SO decelerated from 96 to 61 km/h in the final 2.2 seconds of full braking prior to the collision, the SO decelerated at a factor of .45. The calculated deceleration factor would indicate the road conditions were much less than ideal and likely quite slippery (about half of the friction that would be available if the road had been dry).
When the police vehicle struck the Complainants’ vehicle, the police vehicle had slowed from 96 to 61 km/h in about 47 metres. Using the same deceleration factor of .45, the SO would have required about 80 metres to skid to a stop from 96 km/h.
Using the same deceleration factor of .45, the SO would have been able to skid to a stop at the following locations had he braked heavily when the green traffic signal light changed to amber and had he been travelling at the following speeds:
- 50 km/h – able to stop before the stop line;
- 60 km/h – able to stop at about the stop line;
- 70 km/h – not able to stop at the stop line but able to stop before the collision; and
- 80 km/h plus – not able to stop before the collision.
Had the roads been dry and in good condition, and the SO been travelling at 96 km/h and heavily applied the brakes when the traffic signal light changed from green to amber, the SO would have been able to stop in about 45 metres which would have been in the intersection, past the stop line but prior to the collision.
The physical evidence supported a finding that Complainant #1 executed a left turn across the path of the SO at the beginning of the amber phase of the traffic signal light for Avenue Road. The SO entered the intersection about one-and-one-half seconds after the green traffic signal light changed to amber. The collision occurred about one second after the SO entered the intersection and about two-and-one-half seconds after the green traffic signal light changed to amber. The traffic signal light was still amber when the collision occurred and changed to red as the two vehicles came to rest.
Given his rate of speed in combination with the road conditions, the SO was unable to avoid a violent collision. Had the SO travelled at the speed limit or perhaps somewhere up to about halfway between the speed limit and the actual rate of speed he travelled, he could have avoided the collision even if the road conditions were such as they were. Had the SO travelled 96 km/h and the road conditions were good, he could have braked in reaction to Complainant #1 turning or the light changing to amber and have stopped in time to avoid the collision.
The physical evidence suggested that, in accordance with the Highway Traffic Act, the SO had the right of way to enter the intersection and that the onus remained on Complainant #1 to turn only when it was safe to do so and after having afforded the SO a reasonable opportunity to avoid a collision. Had the collision not occurred and had the SO continued through the intersection at 96 km/h, no matter what the road conditions, he would have been completely through the intersection and ten to 15 metres south of the intersection, when the amber traffic signal light changed to red, at which point Complainant #1 would have had the right of way to make his left turn and clear the intersection.
The physical evidence suggested the SO travelled at about 96 km/h on less than ideal road conditions and approached a traffic signal light controlled intersection with other vehicles in and around it. Though no pedestrians were seen in or near the intersection, the pedestrian control indicated the green traffic signal light phase was ending. The SO continued towards the intersection at about 96 km/h until the traffic signal light changed to amber and Complainant #1’s vehicle started to turn. The SO braked heavily and turned to avoid a collision. A violent collision occurred.
LEGEND FOR SCREEN CAPTURE:
Green camera = Location of surveillance camera at 500 Avenue Road
Yellow pins = AVL data points
Orange pins = CDR - speed data pre-collision 5,4,3,2,1 seconds
Red triangle = CDR - brakes applied
Amber circle = ICCS - green light turned to amber
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence 
ICCS FootageThe SO and WO #1’s Police Vehicle
At 8:58 p.m., the video commenced in the parking lot of 53 Division at Eglinton Avenue West and Duplex Avenue. The SO exited onto Eglinton Avenue West and drove westbound with his emergency lights and siren activated. Eglinton Avenue West was under construction and there was a single lane in each direction. Westbound traffic was congested and stopped. The SO used the eastbound lane to drive westbound. He drove about 600 metres on Eglinton Avenue West. The roads appeared damp and there was snow around but not on the roads. The SO turned left onto Oriole Parkway. There was a 40 km/h speed limit sign.
The SO drove southbound on Oriole Parkway with the emergency lights activated the entire time. There was one southbound through lane. He encountered two all-way stop intersections. He stopped at both, activated the siren, and continued. There was very little traffic.
At 9:00 p.m., there was a red traffic signal light at Chaplin Crescent. The SO stopped, activated the siren and proceeded through as the traffic signal light changed to the all-red phase. No other traffic was at the intersection. There was a green traffic signal light at Kilbarry Road. There were now two southbound lanes. The SO drove in lane 1. There was a green traffic signal light at Gormley Avenue. The distance the SO had driven down Oriole Parkway was about 1.6 kilometres, for a total of about 2.2 kilometres since leaving 53 Division.
At 9:01 p.m., there was a bend in the road to the SO’s right. The road became Lonsdale Avenue (westbound) for about 150 metres. There was a green traffic signal light and left bend onto Avenue Road to continue southbound. The SO drove with the emergency lights and siren activated in lane 1. The total distance was now about 2.4 kilometres.
The SO continued southbound on Avenue Road in lane 1 of two southbound through lanes. A vehicle slowed and appeared to stop in lane 1 in front of the SO, then delayed moving to the right. This occurred near a speed limit sign which indicated where 50 km/h began (as per Google Maps, this was in front of 616 Avenue Road). The SO slowed and passed the vehicle on its left. There was traffic driving northbound and all northbound vehicles pulled to the right.
The SO drove southbound through a green light at Heath Street West in lane 1. South of Heath Street West, three southbound vehicles pulled to the right and stopped.
The SO had driven southbound in lane 1 on Avenue Road from Lonsdale Avenue to St. Clair Avenue West, which was about 450 metres, for a total distance of 2.8 kilomtres from 53 Division. Avenue Road was wet, but it was not raining. There was some snow on the sides of the road but not on the travelled portion. The area was well lit with overhead street lights and other ambient lighting from buildings, signs, and vehicles.
The SO approached St. Clair Avenue West in lane 1 with the emergency lights and siren activated. There was one vehicle travelling southbound in the lane well ahead of the SO. The pedestrian control was flashing red and appeared to have a count-down timer. The time on the timer was not discernable. There were a couple of vehicles northbound in lane 2.
At 9:01:26 p.m., the SO was about even with the start of a left turn lane for southbound traffic and about 82 metres north of the stop line. The traffic light at the intersection at St. Clair Avenue West was green. The Complainants’ vehicle was stopped in the northbound left turn lane and appeared to be in the intersection. It was not clear from the SO’s ICCS if the Complainants’ vehicle’s turn signal was activated.
At 9:01:28 p.m., the traffic light changed to amber and the pedestrian control turned solid red. The SO was still north of the stop line. The vehicle ahead of the SO had cleared the intersection. There was also a slow moving TTC bus well ahead of the SO in southbound lane 2 which also cleared the intersection. There were no vehicles stopped or moving in the left turn lane or right turn lane. CW #1’s vehicle was stopped in the eastbound left turn lane.
At 9:01:29 p.m. (very shortly after the traffic light changed to amber), it appeared that the Complainants’ vehicle began to turn left. The SO was not yet at the stop line. At 9:01:30 p.m. (about one-and-one-half to two-seconds after the traffic light changed to amber), the SO appeared to have crossed the stop line and crosswalk and was in the intersection. The Complainants’ vehicle was continuing its turn at about a 45-degree angle entirely across southbound lane 1 in front of the SO’s police vehicle. The SO moved to the right as the Complainants’ vehicle continued its turn across southbound lane 1 towards the westbound lanes. A collision occurred, the camera shook and the air bags deployed. The traffic light was amber.
WO #2’s Police Vehicle
The time stamp on WO #2’s police vehicle was about one second behind the time stamp on the SO’s police vehicle. WO #2 followed the SO’s police vehicle. Both police vehicles drove southbound to Avenue Road. The emergency lights on both police vehicles were activated the entire time. WO #2 used his siren intermittently.
While driving southbound at Avenue Road and Heath Street West, WO #2 was about two seconds and about 40 metres behind the SO’s police vehicle. As was seen in the SO’s ICCS, the traffic light at St. Clair Avenue West was green as the SO approached.
The traffic light turned amber. Consistent with the ICCS from the SO’s police vehicle, the SO had passed where the southbound left turn lane had commenced and was still north of the stop line. The Complainants’ vehicle appeared to be stopped in the northbound left lane at or in the intersection.
Very shortly after the traffic light turned amber, the Complainants’ vehicle began to turn. Consistent with the ICCS from the SO’s police vehicle, the SO was still north of the stop line. The SO applied the brakes (brake lights seen). The SO entered the intersection with the brakes still applied. The SO turned to the right as the Complainants’ vehicle continued the left turn.
The collision occurred about one-and-one-half to two seconds after the traffic light changed to amber. The two vehicles veered towards the southwest corner of the intersection. The Complainants’ vehicle spun around counterclockwise, 360 degrees (one complete rotation). The police vehicle rotated about one quarter turn clockwise to face west.
The traffic light changed to red about one second after the collision (about three seconds after it had turned amber). The Complainants’ vehicle had not yet come to rest. The SO’s vehicle continued rolling forward, facing west, towards the eastbound stop line where CW #1 and CW #2 were stopped.
About two seconds after the collision, the Complainants’ vehicle came to rest facing northwest at virtually the same angle it appeared to have been when the collision occurred. About three seconds after the collision between the police vehicle and the Complainants’ vehicle, the front of the police vehicle struck CW #1’s vehicle and came to rest.
WO #2 entered the intersection. He called-in the collision to the dispatcher. WO #2 ran to where the SO and WO #1 had gotten out of the police vehicle and then to the passenger side of the Complainants’ vehicle. He pulled an unconscious Complainant #2 out of the vehicle and carried her around to the driver’s side of the vehicle. The SO and WO #1 pulled Complainant #1 out of the vehicle.
At 9:03 p.m., WO #3 arrived. A male police officer told the dispatcher there had been a second police vehicle-involved collision which had just occurred at Oriole Parkway and Tranmer Avenue. Multiple police officers arrived as well as firefighters and paramedics.
WO #3’s Police Vehicle
At 9:02 p.m., the ICCS  commenced as the police vehicle was southbound on Avenue Road with the emergency lights activated. WO #2’s transmission advising the dispatcher of the collision was heard. WO #3 was not within view of Avenue Road and St. Clair Avenue West at the time of the collision. At 9:03 p.m., she arrived on scene.
WO #4’s Police Vehicle
At 9:01 p.m., the ICCS commenced. WO #4 was not within view of Avenue Road and St. Clair Avenue West at the time of the collision. At 9:06 p.m., he arrived on scene having travelled westbound on St. Clair Avenue West. Between about 9:12 and 9:30 p.m., the SO and WO #1 sat in the police vehicle. They talked, but what was said was not discernable.
BWC FootageTPS provided audio and video from the BWCs of six police officers. None of the BWCs recorded prior to or during the collision. There was some conversation captured between the SO and WO #1 during which the SO spoke of the collision. The police officers also referenced the road conditions and the handling of TPS vehicles in general.
The SO’s BWC
The SO’s camera was active from 9:02 to 9:39 p.m. It commenced after the collision and after the SO got out of the police vehicle. He went to the Complainants’ vehicle. Complainant #1 was lying on his back with his upper body on the centre console and his feet resting on the driver’s seat. Complainant #2 was sitting upright in the passenger seat, not moving.
As the audio activated, the police siren from the SO’s police vehicle was still on and was transitioning between different siren variations. The SO and WO #1 removed Complainant #1 from his vehicle and carried him to the southwest corner sidewalk. Complainant #1 appeared to be unconscious. Complainant #1 regained consciousness. He moaned and appeared disoriented.
The SO approached and spoke briefly to CW #1 and CW #2. Snow was observed on the concrete bed of the TTC streetcar tracks that ran down the middle of St. Clair Avenue West. The surfaces of Avenue Road and St. Clair Avenue West were clear of snow but had a glare and appeared either wet or icy or a combination of both.
At 9:14 p.m., the SO told a male paramedic he was driving southbound with his emergency lights and siren activated on an amber light. Complainant #1 was trying to make a left turn and hit his vehicle.
At 9:15 p.m., Complainant #1 told WO #1 that he had not been drinking. Complainant #1 asked the SO what happened and seemed surprised he had been in a collision. He had no recollection of the events or of being a driver.
At 9:18 p.m., the SO explained to WO #4 the position he found Complainant #1 in after the collision and suggested Complainant #1 may not have been wearing his seatbelt.
At 9:19 p.m., the SO told WO #4 that he was driving southbound on Avenue Road on a green light. There was about three seconds left and he felt he could not stop and would have ended up in the middle of the road. He had his emergency lights and siren on, and the Complainants’ vehicle was indicating a left turn when he “air-horned the intersection”. He told WO #4 that when the light turned amber, Complainant #1 started to turn left and they collided.
WO #4 told the SO and WO #1 to sit in his police vehicle to get warm. While seated in WO #4’s police vehicle, WO #1 spoke of having a few scratches and having bit her tongue because of the collision. The SO indicated he was dizzy and had a sore leg. At 9:25 p.m., the SO told WO #1 when he was braking the police vehicle was skidding. WO #1 indicated she was aware of that and they agreed TPS police vehicles should be outfitted with snow tires.
WO #1’s BWC
WO #1’s BWC was active from 9:07 to 10:03 p.m. The footage captured was consistent with the SO’s BWC footage.
WO #2’s BWC
WO #2’s BWC was active from 9:01 to 9:28 p.m. at the collision scene. At 9:01 p.m., the collision had already occurred. WO #2 was the first police officer to arrive. He stopped in front of the Complainants’ vehicle. He removed Complainant #2’s seat belt and lifted her out of the vehicle onto the sidewalk.
WO #5’s BWC
WO #5’s BWC was active from 9:09 to 9:39 p.m. at the collision scene. At 9:32 p.m., WO #5 was walking with the SO to her police vehicle and commented on how much black ice there was.
At 9:38 p.m., WO #5 transported the SO to TPS 53 Division. They stopped at the location of a second TPS police vehicle collision and checked on the condition of the involved police officer.
WO #3’s BWC
WO #3’s BWC was active from 9:03 to 9:40 p.m. WO #3’s BWC footage was consistent with the information summarized in her notes.
WO #8’s BWC
WO #8’s BWC was active from 9:28 to 9:40 p.m. He performed traffic control duties at the intersection and used his BWC to record a statement from a civilian witness, CW #3.
Surveillance VideoWithin two days of the collision the SIU searched for and obtained audio / video records of relevance, as set out below. Attempts were also made to secure video from the TTC. It was learned the TTC had experienced a cybersecurity incident which had impacted its ability to retrieve and provide any video.
Security Camera Footage - 500 Avenue Road
The camera was located on the west side of the road, about 150 metres north of the intersection. The camera faced north and captured a view of Avenue Road in front of the building and north to about the traffic signal light-controlled intersection of Avenue Road and Heath Street West. The time stamp on the camera was fairly accurate compared to other time sources. There was light snow on the ground. It was dark outside. The travelled portion of Avenue Road appeared wet or damp. The area was well lit. There were overhead street lights on Avenue Road.
At 9:04:15 p.m., the traffic light at Avenue Road and Heath Street West turned green for traffic on Avenue Road. At 9:04:27 p.m., a TTC bus drove southbound in front of 500 Avenue Road, in lane 2. The bus was known to have been seen on the SO’s ICCS, well in front of the police vehicle. Three cars travelled southbound after the bus at what appeared to be a normal rate of speed. Other vehicles travelled northbound.
The emergency lights of the SO’s police vehicle could be seen north in the distance as it came from Lonsdale Road and approached Heath Street West. A fourth car travelled southbound through the intersection at Heath Street West. It pulled to the right and stopped in front of 500 Avenue Road to let the police vehicles pass.
At 9:04:41 p.m., the SO’s police vehicle travelled southbound through the intersection of Avenue Road and Heath Street West. At 9:04:43 p.m., the SO’s police vehicle continued southbound in front of 500 Avenue Road (left to right on the screen) in lane 1. The emergency lights were activated the entire time.
At 9:04:45 p.m. (about two seconds behind the SO), WO #2’s police vehicle travelled southbound on Avenue Road in front of 500 Avenue Road, also in lane 1. The emergency lights were activated the entire time. There were no vehicles in between the SO’s and WO #2’s police vehicles. The SO’s and WO #2’s police vehicles appeared to travel about twice as fast as the other southbound traffic.
Security Camera Footage - 561 Avenue Road
The surveillance camera was located on the east side of the road about 100 metres north of the intersection. It faced northwest and captured traffic on Avenue Road going north and southbound. The time stamp was about 9:01 p.m. when the SO’s and WO #2’s police vehicles travelled southbound on Avenue Road. The footage was the same as what was seen on the video from 500 Avenue Road, but from the other side of the road (southbound traffic travelled right to left on the screen).
Security Camera Footage - 111 St. Clair Avenue West
The camera was located on the south side of the road, about 150 metres east of the intersection. At 9:05:52 p.m., the SO’s police vehicle with emergency lights activated entered the intersection. Due to a sign, there was no view of the intersection and, therefore, the pre-collision movements of the Complainants’ vehicle and the collision itself. A few seconds later, WO #2’s police vehicle approached and slowly entered the intersection. About 20 seconds after the SO entered the intersection, the traffic signal light for westbound St. Clair Avenue West changed to green as if there had been an advanced green phase for eastbound traffic.
Security Camera Footage - 155 St. Clair Avenue West
The building was on the southwest corner of the intersection. The camera was located on the west side of Avenue Road, about 25 metres south of the intersection, with a limited view of the southwest corner of the intersection. The traffic signal lights were not in the image; however, observations were made of the reflection of the traffic signal light colour on the wet roadway and the corresponding flow of traffic.
At 9:03:47 p.m., northbound Avenue Road received an advance green light. Traffic proceeded northbound and four cars turned left onto St. Clair Avenue West while southbound traffic did not enter the intersection.
At 9:04:01 p.m., southbound traffic on Avenue Road proceeded into the intersection consistent with the advanced green for northbound having expired. Several cars drove southbound through the intersection, then two northbound cars turned left during a gap before several more cars proceeded southbound. A southbound car turned left to travel eastbound.
At 9:04:26 p.m., the northbound Complainants’ vehicle stopped in the intersection consistent with waiting to turn left. The headlights were on and the left turn signal appeared to be on. There was no vehicle ahead of the Complainants’ vehicle either waiting to turn left from northbound or southbound on Avenue Road. At 9:04:31 p.m., a TTC bus proceeded southbound through the intersection. It cleared the intersection about one second later.
At 9:04:33 p.m., the Complainants’ vehicle commenced its left turn. One second later, while the Complainants’ vehicle was turning, the emergency lights from the SO’s police vehicle could be seen reflecting on the wet ground.
At 9:04:35 p.m., the collision occurred. About three seconds later, the Complainants’ vehicle came to rest after spinning. The video ended almost immediately after the Complainants’ vehicle came to rest. The emergency lights from the SO’s police vehicle made it impossible to determine when the traffic signal light for Avenue Road changed to red.
TPS Communications Recordings SummaryAudio provided by TPS included various tracks of police radio dispatch and communications centre telephone calls.
At 8:21 p.m., TPS communications centre received a 911 call from a female who advised she had been at the St. George Subway Station. She said there was a male there who had a handgun in his pocket. The caller said the male showed her and her friend the handgun while they were on the westbound line 2 train. When they exited at the St. George Station to transfer to the northbound/southbound line, she and her friend ran upstairs while the unknown male went and stood on the northbound platform, presumably to wait for the next train. A physical and clothing description of the male was obtained.
At 8:22 p.m., the dispatcher made a request over the 53 Division police radio for any available police officers to respond. The details of the complaint were provided. No police officers indicated they were responding. A police communicator called the TTC Transit Control Centre and advised a TTC communicator of the telephone call the police had received. At 8:39 p.m., a TPS communicator advised the TTC Transit Control Centre a police officer had not yet been dispatched to the radio call.
At 8:53 p.m., WO #2 contacted the dispatcher and asked if there was a priority call at St. George Station. The dispatcher provided WO #2 with the details of the call. WO #2 advised the dispatcher he was tandem with another police unit and responding.
At 8:56 p.m., the SO directed the dispatcher to put himself and WO #1 on the radio call.
At 8:59 p.m., the TTC Transit Control Centre contacted TPS communications centre asking for the estimated arrival time of the responding police officers. The TTC Transit Control Centre operator indicated the entire downtown core of the subway system was at a standstill because of the report of a person with a gun and they were experiencing a significant disruption to their services. One minute later another call was received by TPS communications centre from the TTC Transit Control Centre asking to confirm that police officers were on their way.
The dispatcher asked if any police officers responding could advise of their estimated time of arrival. WO #2 replied that he was a couple of minutes away. A siren was heard in the background of the radio transmission.
At 9:01 p.m., WO #2 advised the dispatcher that the SO and WO #1’s police vehicle had had just been involved in a motor vehicle collision. He asked to put a rush on the response of Toronto Paramedic Services. There were various police radio transmissions and telephone calls regarding the collision.
At 9:03 p.m., the dispatcher was advised by a male police officer that he was involved in a separate collision at Tranmer Avenue and Oriole Parkway.
At 9:12 p.m., the TTC Transit Control Centre called TPS communications centre inquiring as to when they could expect a police officer to arrive as their trains remained stopped and the delay to their services was significant. A communicator called the Toronto Police Operations Centre and requested police officers from another TPS Division be deployed to respond to St. George Station.
Materials Obtained from Police Service Upon request, the SIU received the following materials and documents from TPS between December 9, 2021 and January 20, 2022:
- Email between TPS and SIU regarding examination of vehicles;
- Email from TPS regarding additional involved officers;
- Email from TPS with list of involved officers;
- Email from TPS with list of involved officers and assignment of BWCs and ICCSs;
- General Occurrence Entity List;
- Computer-assisted Dispatch Reports (x2);
- Mechanical Examination Reports-Toyota and TPS Vehicle;
- Motor Vehicle Collision Report;
- Notes-WO #1;
- Notes-WO #4;
- Notes-WO #2;
- Notes-WO #3;
- Notes-WO #3-Additional Notes;
- Notes-WO #5;
- Notes-WO #8;
- Notes-WO #6;
- Notes-WO #7-Field Notes;
- Notes-WO #7;
- Occurrence and Supplementary Reports;
- Policy-Life Threatening Injury-Fatal Collisions;
- Policy-Service Vehicle Collisions;
- Policy-Transportation Collisions;
- Policy-Use of Service Vehicles;
- CDR Data – Toyota and the SO’s Vehicle;
- Statement Driver-CW #1;
- Statement Driver-CW #2;
- AVL / GPS Data;
- Training Record-Police Vehicle Operations-the SO;
- Training Record-Safe Skills Emergency Driving Course-the SO;
- Communications Recordings; and
- Scene Photos.
Materials Obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from other sources:
- Medical Records for Complainant #1 from SMH;
- Photos and video of scene from CW #1;
- Security camera video footage - 111 St. Clair Avenue West;
- Security camera video footage - 155 St. Clair Avenue West;
- Security camera video footage - 500 Avenue Road; and
- Security camera video footage - 561 Avenue Road.
At about 9:00 p.m. of December 8, 2021, Complainant #1 and Complainant #2 were in their vehicle – a Toyota Corolla – travelling north on Avenue Road toward St. Clair Avenue. Complainant #1 was driving. Complainant #1 entered into the left-turn lane on a green light intending to turn onto the westbound lanes of St. Clair Avenue and proceeded into the intersection a distance waiting for southbound traffic to clear. There were no vehicles ahead of his in the left-turn lane.
At about the same time, the SO, operating a marked police SUV, was travelling south on Avenue Road at speed, approaching St. Clair Avenue with his emergency lights and siren on. WO #1 was his front seat passenger. Behind them was another cruiser operated by WO #2. The officers were responding to a 911 call about a man with a gun at the St. George Subway Station. As the SO neared the intersection, the traffic control signal facing him turned from green to amber and Complainant #1 began his left-hand turn across his path of travel. The officer turned to the right attempting to avoid a collision but was unable to do so. The impact sent both vehicles in a southwest direction where they came to rest in and around the intersection.
Emergency responders arrived on scene and tended to the Complainants. They were taken to hospital having suffered multiple fractures. Neither the SO nor WO #1 were seriously injured in the collision.
Section 320.13 (1) Criminal Code – Dangerous operation causing bodily harm
Section 128(13), Highway Traffic Act – Police vehicles and speeding
(b) a police department vehicle being used in the lawful performance of a police officer’s duties.
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. Simple negligence is insufficient to ground liability for 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 issue is whether there was a want of care on the part of the SO in the manner in which he drove, sufficiently egregious to attract criminal sanction, that caused or contributed to the collision. In my view, there was not.
The SO’s speed as he neared St. Clair Avenue – about 95 km/h – is subject to legitimate scrutiny. The roads were damp and slippery at the time, and the ‘gun call’ that he was responding to was no longer a matter of pressing urgency. It had been about a half-hour since the initial call had come in, and it was not even clear where the suspect might be located at the time. In the circumstances, it is arguable that the officer was travelling in excess of what was reasonable at the time. Indeed, at the speed at which he was travelling, almost twice the 50 km/h speed limit – forensic calculations suggest he had left himself little to no opportunity to avoid a collision with someone entering the intersection as Complainant #1 did – a foreseeable contingency that the SO ought to have had in mind.
On the other side of the ledger, however, there are a number of extenuating considerations that render the SO’s driving something less than a marked departure from a reasonable standard of care. As an officer in the execution of his duties at the time, the SO was exempt from the speed limitations pursuant to section 128(13)(b) of the Highway Traffic Act. While the provision does not confer carte blanche on police officers to speed as they wish, it does provide that allowance be made in the reasonableness assessment of an officer’s conduct in recognition of their unique law enforcement role. It is also apparent that the SO was not oblivious to public safety considerations as he made his way to the scene of the call for service – St. George Subway Station. In fact, while en route to his destination prior to the collision, the SO had operated his cruiser at reasonable speeds and in compliance with the traffic laws, which included coming to a stop at two stop signs and two red traffic lights before he safely cleared those intersections. He also had his cruiser’s emergency lights on for the duration of the trip (and his siren as he neared St. Clair Avenue on Avenue Road), affording surrounding motorists and pedestrians notice of his presence and speed on the roadway. Indeed, the footage captured by the cruiser’s ICCS depicts other vehicles, in both directions of travel, pulling over for the SO as he travelled south towards St. Clair Avenue. Lastly, while the SO’s speeds in the final stages of his route before the collision were high, they were not excessively high. That is to say, if the ‘gun call’ had become stale to an extent, it remained a priority call deserving of an expedited response given the potential presence of a firearm in a public setting. What a reasonable speed would have been in the circumstances is difficult to ascertain with precision,  but I am confident that it was something more than the 50 km/h speed limit and something less than the speed at which the SO travelled in the moments prior to the collision. I am even more confident that the difference between those two figures would not reflect a blatantly disproportionate response on the part of the officer to the situation at hand.
For the foregoing reasons, I am satisfied that the SO’s driving did not transgress the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case and the file is closed.
Date: April 8, 2022
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]
- 2) The ICCS listed the name of a different officer in the police vehicle but only WO #3 was seen getting out of the police vehicle. [Back to text]
- 3) The findings of the SIU reconstructionist suggest the SO would have been able to safely react and come to a stop before the point of impact at a speed of about 70 km/h or less. [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.