SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-OVI-425
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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 serious injuries a 45-year-old woman (the “Complainant”) suffered.
Notification of the SIUOn December 25, 2021, at 3:27 p.m., the Saugeen Shores Police Service (SSPS) notified the SIU of an injury to the Complainant.
The SSPS advised that, at 2:52 p.m., the Subject Official (SO) had attempted to stop a vehicle driven by Civilian Witness (CW) #1. When the SO turned on his emergency lights, CW #1 fled and crashed into a house at 357 Bricker Street in Port Elgin. The Complainant suffered a fractured arm and head injury as a result of the collision. A SSPS officer, Witness Official (WO) #2, off-duty at the time, had witnessed the event.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 12/25/2021 at 4:18 p.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 12/25/2021 at 8:00 p.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 4
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 1
Number of SIU Collision Reconstructionists Assigned: 1
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):45-year-old female; interviewed
The Complainant was interviewed on December 26, 2021.
Civilian WitnessesCW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Interviewed
CW #4 Interviewed
CW #5 Interviewed
The civilian witnesses were interviewed between December 25 and 27, 2021.
Subject Official SO 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 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
The witness officials were interviewed between January 4 and 5, 2022.
The SceneA SIU forensic investigator arrived at the scene on December 25, 2021, at 4:00 p.m. Two Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers were on scene to do the reconstruction investigation of the incident. The scene was photographed and the two involved vehicles, the Ford Fusion and the SSPS Ford Explorer, were examined, and no signs of contact were found.
Tire marks on Bricker Street and onto the lawn of 357 Bricker Street suggested that the Ford Fusion had been travelling north and turned to the right at the intersection of Maple Drive and Bricker Street. Tire marks continued off the roadway, and onto the lawn and into the home at 357 Bricker Street.
Figure 1 – The scene
Figure 2 – The Ford Fusion
RouteThe SO had driven about 635 metres from where he had been stationary on Barnes Avenue on a route that took him northbound on Bricker Street to Maple Drive, in about 32 seconds. This calculated to an average speed of about 71 km/h. The maximum speed captured on the Global Positioning System (GPS) data associated with the officer’s cruiser was 100 km/h at a point about one-third of the way between Barnes Avenue and Maple Drive. The route is a straight roadway (Bricker Street) in a residential area.
OPP Scene Diagram
GPS DataA SIU forensic investigator analyzed the GPS data provided by SSPS for the SO’s SUV. This was received by the SIU on January 4, 2022.
Per the data, on December 25, 2021, at 2:27 p.m., the SO was stationary on Barnes Avenue about 35 metres east of Bricker Street. He appeared to be on the south side of the road, likely facing west. Barnes Avenue became a dead end street east of Bricker Street. The SO remained stationary there for about three minutes.
Sometime after 2:30:43 p.m. (which was when he was last recorded stationary on Barnes Avenue), he entered the intersection of Barnes Avenue and Bricker Street and turned right to travel northbound. Sixteen seconds later, the SO was northbound on Bricker Street. He was about 21 metres south of Lloyd Street, which was also about 225 metres north of where he had been stationary on Barnes Avenue. He travelled at a rate of speed of about 100 km/h. Sixteen seconds later, the SO was located on the southeast corner of Bricker Street at Maple Drive, having travelled northbound on Bricker Street. He travelled at a rate of speed of about 21 km/h. Sixteen seconds later, the officer was stationary at Bricker Street and Maple Drive.
SIU Collision Reconstructionist ReportA SIU Collision Reconstructionist reviewed the following materials:
- MTO Motor Vehicle Accident Report; [/fn]1[/fn]
- Police officer notes, including field notes from OPP reconstruction experts who attended the scene; [/fn]2[/fn]
- SIU forensic investigator scene report;
- SIU and OPP scene photographs;
- OPP scene diagrams and measurements;
- Synopses of SIU and OPP witness statements and interviews; and
- Crash Data Retrieval (CDR) reports.
CW #1 operated a Ford Fusion northbound on Bricker Street from Barnes Avenue. The area was residential, and the posted speed limit was 40 km/h. The SO had attempted to conduct a traffic stop of the Ford Fusion by activating his emergency lighting. According to the Motor Vehicle Accident Report, CW #1 was estimated to be travelling 90 km/h, with the SO at 80 km/h.
The SO’s SSPS vehicle was not involved in the collision; it was simply present when the collision occurred.
CW #1 approached the intersection of Bricker Street and Maple Drive, a T-intersection. Lengthy tire marks from CW #1’s vehicle indicated he had attempted to turn right onto Maple Drive from Bricker Street. The tire marks commenced south of the intersection in about the centre of Bricker Street. They gradually curved to the right. It was apparent from the radius of the tire marks that the rate of speed CW #1 was travelling at exceeded the rate of speed at which the Ford Fusion could execute such a turn. CW #1 lost control of the Ford Fusion and it mounted the concrete curb as it crossed the front lawn of 357 Bricker Street and then struck the house. The length of the tire marks appeared to be consistent with a vehicle travelling at least 90 km/h as reported on the Motor Vehicle Accident Report.
OPP officers and the SIU forensic investigator examined the SO’s police vehicle. There was no damage and no evidence of contact with CW #1’s vehicle
As per the PCM (powertrain control module) data, about 20 seconds prior to the collision CW #1 travelled at about 82 km/h. He subsequently depressed the accelerator pedal to 100 percent capacity. The vehicle accelerated from about 80 km/h to 111 km/h, and continued northbound on Bricker Street, driving for about 280 metres northbound on Bricker Street. About ten seconds prior to the collision, CW #1 took his foot off the accelerator pedal. About nine seconds prior to the collision CW #1 depressed the brake pedal. It remained depressed while the vehicle decelerated until it collided with the house.
There was no reason to suspect mechanical failure of the Ford Fusion.
From the data provided through the collision reconstruction and the GPS, it was not possible to calculate the distance at which the SO followed behind CW #1. CW #1’s speed exceeded that of the SO, and CW #1 maintained that speed much longer than the SO.
The evidence from the collision reconstruction supported a finding that the serious injury the Complainant sustained was attributable to the collision when the Ford Fusion struck the house after CW #1 lost control attempting to execute a right turn at a high rate of speed.
Communications RecordingsThe communications recordings were all after the collision.
Materials Obtained from Police Service Upon request, the SIU received the following materials from the OPP and SSPS between December 29, 2021 and April 4, 2022:
- OPP Collision Reconstruction Report;
- OPP CDR Reports (received from SSPS);
- OPP Notes-WO #3;
- OPP Notes-WO #4;
- SSPS GPS Records;
- SSPS Motor Vehicle Accident Report;
- SSPS Notes-WO #1; and
- SSPS Statement of WO #2.
Materials Obtained from Other Sources
Photographs and VideosThe SIU received numerous photographs and video taken by citizens in the vicinity of Bricker Street and Maple Drive in Port Elgin. The photographs and videos depicted the Ford Fusion against the residence of 357 Bricker Street and the aftermath of the collision. Media was also submitted to the SIU via the SIU online portal.
In the afternoon of December 25, 2021, the Complainant was a passenger in a Ford Fusion driven by CW #1. The vehicle was without licence plates.
The SO, in a marked police SUV, came across the Ford Fusion as it travelled eastward on Barnes Avenue towards Bricker Street, Saugeen Shores. He observed that the vehicle did not have licence plates and followed it as it turned left to travel north on Bricker Street. The officer activated his emergency lights and sped after the Ford Fusion as it travelled north on Bricker Street.
CW #1 decided not to stop. He accelerated north on Bricker Street, reaching speeds in and around 100 km/h, before deciding to turn right onto Maple Drive, approximately 600 metres north of Barnes Avenue. CW #1 lost control of the Ford Fusion, failed to navigate the turn and travelled in a northeast direction across the front yard of the property at 357 Bricker Street, colliding into the side of the home at that address.
The SO came upon the site of the wreckage several seconds later. He exited his vehicle, arrested the driver of the Ford Fusion – CW #1 – and placed him inside his cruiser.
The Complainant suffered a broken right arm and pulmonary contusion as a result of the impact.
Section 320.13 (1) Criminal Code – Dangerous operation causing bodily harm
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 on the part of the SO, sufficiently egregious to attract criminal sanction, that caused or contributed to the collision in question. In my view, there was not.
CW #1 was operating a vehicle unlawfully without licence plates, and the SO was entitled to seek to stop him to deal with the traffic infraction.
I am also satisfied that the SO comported himself with due care and regard for public safety in the course of the half-kilometre or so in which he chased CW #1. Though the SO reached a top speed in the neighbourhood of 100 km/h, he did so very briefly and then only in an understandable attempt to catch up to CW #1, who was accelerating away from the officer. Despite the SO’s speed, the evidence indicates that he had his emergency lights activated, giving notice to those in the vicinity of the pursuit, and that he did not directly imperil any third-party motorists on the road, including CW #1. In fact, it would appear that the SO was well-back of the Ford Fusion when it lost control and crashed into a house, foreclosing any suggestion that he unduly pushed CW #1 or left him no opportunity to alter his driving.
In the result, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the SO transgressed the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law in the context of a very brief engagement with CW #1 and his Ford Fusion. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case, and the file is closed.
Date: April 22, 2022
Electronically approved by
Special Investigations Unit
- 1) Received by the SIU on December 30, 2021, at 8:14 a.m. [Back to text]
- 2) Received by the SIU on December 29, 2021, at 2:15 p.m. This included the OPP scene photographs, OPP scene diagrams and measurements, and the CDR report. [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.