SIU Director’s Report - Case # 23-OVD-392
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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.
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- The name of, and any information identifying, a subject official, witness official, civilian witness or affected person.
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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 43-year-old man (the “Complainant”).
Notification of the SIU On September 23, 2023, at 10:15 a.m., the Guelph Police Service (GPS) contacted the SIU with the following information.
On September 23, 2023, at 9:30 a.m., the GPS received a Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) message from the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) (Oxford County) requesting assistance in conducting a wellness check in the City of Guelph for the Complainant. The CPIC message indicated that the Complainant was the subject of an arrest warrant for having threatened his surety. The surety informed the OPP that the Complainant was armed with a firearm and paranoid. He had also told his surety that he wanted to commit suicide via an interaction with police. The Complainant was last seen operating his Dodge Ram pick-up truck that was yellow in colour. The OPP had conducted an initial cellphone ‘ping’ on the Complainant’s phone, which indicated he was at an intersection on Victoria Road in Guelph. The OPP subsequently conducted a second ping indicating the Complainant was in the area of Victoria Street and York Road, Guelph. Subject Official (SO) #1 and SO #2 attended the area and located the Complainant as he drove his yellow pick-up truck. They activated their emergency lights and siren to stop the Complainant and a brief Suspect Apprehension Pursuit was initiated, but discontinued after a short time. The Complainant’s pick-up truck was subsequently located a short distance away after it had rolled several times at Victoria Road, just south of Clair Road East, Guelph. Guelph Fire Services extricated the Complainant and lifesaving measures were initiated.
At 10:40 a.m., the SIU was notified by GPS that the Complainant, the sole occupant of the pick-up truck, had succumbed to his injuries.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 2023/09/23 at 10:30 a.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 2023/09/23 at 12:05 p.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Reconstructionists assigned: 1
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):43-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 Interviewed
The civilian witnesses were interviewed between September 23, 2023, and October 16, 2023.
Subject OfficialsSO #1 Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject official’s legal right
SO #2 Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject official’s legal right
Witness OfficialWO Interviewed
The witness official was interviewed on October 20, 2023.
The Scene The events in question transpired on a stretch of roadway beginning on Victoria Road South, a distance north of its intersection with Arkell Road, and concluding at the site of a collision on Victoria Road South in and around its intersection with Clair Road East, Guelph.
Victoria Road South was a north-south road with two lanes, one in each direction. The road widened to accommodate a northbound left turn lane onto Clair Road East. The area was governed by a 70 km/h speed limit. The road was marked for bicycle lanes along each curb. There were open fields on the east and residential buildings on the west side of the road.
Clair Road East was an east-west road with two lanes, one in each direction. It ended at Victoria Road South at a T- intersection. The intersection was controlled with traffic signals and was governed by a 60 km/h speed limit. The road was marked for bicycle lanes along each curb. There was a low-rise condominium on the north side and fields on the south side of the road.
Both roads were asphalt, straight, level, and in good repair with lane markings that were visible.
Physical EvidenceThere were three heavily damaged vehicles at the site of the collision.
- A yellow Dodge Ram pick-up truck. The vehicle was on its roof on the southbound lane of Victoria Road South, south of Clair Road East. It was heavily damaged on all sides.
- A grey Hyundai Elantra. The vehicle had heavy front-end damage and was facing southwest within the intersection.
- A black Honda Ridgeline pick-up truck. There was an open trailer attached to this truck. This vehicle had heavy damage to the front-end and roofline. The trailer had also been damaged and there was yellow paint transfer onto the trailer. The vehicle was in the northbound lane and left turn lane of Victoria Road South, just south of the intersection.
Tracker Data – The Complainant’s Pick-up TruckThe Complainant’s pick-up truck was travelling at 126 km/h at five seconds before impact. The pick-up truck slowed to approximately 114 km/h around two seconds before impact and then accelerated at 100% throttle to reach 124 km/h at impact.
Global Positioning System Tracking Data SO #1’s Cruiser
At 9:44:02 a.m., September 23, 2023, SO #1 travelled east on Clair Road East, Guelph, at a speed of 68 km/h. SO #1 reached the intersection of Clair Road East and Victoria Road South at 9:44:22 a.m. and stopped. SO #1 then turned left and travelled northbound on Victoria Road South at speeds up to 72 km/h.
At 9:45:40 a.m., SO #1 was stopped facing northbound at the intersection of Victoria Road South and Summerfield Drive. At 9:46:05 a.m., SO #1 performed a U-turn and travelled south on Victoria Road South, briefly reaching a top speed of 76 km/h.
At 9:47:04 a.m., SO #1 was stopped at the intersection of Victoria Road South and Clair Road East.
SO #2’s Cruiser
At 9:44 a.m., September 23, 2023, SO #2 travelled east on Clair Road East, Guelph, at a speed of 68 km/h. His position was east of Farley Road. He reached the intersection of Clair Road East and Victoria Road South at a speed of 21 km/h.
At 9:45:55 a.m., SO #2 turned left and travelled northbound on Victoria Road South at a speed of 27 km/h. He travelled northbound on Victoria Road South to the intersection of Frederick Drive at a speed of 45 km/h. One second later, he slowed to 31 km/h. SO #2 moved to the southbound lane on Victoria Road South at a speed of 11 km/h. Five seconds later, his speed increased to 31 km/h.
At 9:46:35 a.m., SO #2 travelled southbound on Victoria Road South at a speed of 74 km/h. Five seconds later, his speed was 72 km/h. Two seconds later, his speed was 71 km/h. Five seconds later, his speed was 43 km/h.
At 9:46:53 a.m., SO #2 stopped at the intersection of Victoria Road South and Clair Road East.
At 9:44:02 a.m., September 23, 223, the WO travelled north on Victoria Road South, Guelph, at a speed of 61 km/h. His position was immediately south of Arkell Road. He stopped at the intersection of Victoria Road South and Arkell Road before travelling north on Victoria Road South past Arkell Road, slowing to 16 km/h and then accelerating to a speed of 66 km/h in a southbound direction. The WO continued southbound on Victoria Road South reaching a speed of 85 km/h.
At 9:46:19 a.m., the WO passed the intersection of Summerfield Drive at 66 km/h. He then passed the intersection of Victoria Road South and Frederick Drive at 71 km/h.
At 9:47:25 a.m., the WO stopped at the intersection of Clair Road East and Victoria Road South.
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence 
GPS Communications RecordingsStarting at about 9:22 a.m., September 23, 2023, the OPP requested that GPS conduct a wellness check on the Complainant around Laird Road and Clair Road West. The Complainant was reportedly operating a yellow Dodge Ram pick-up. A dispatcher requested that GPS units assist the OPP. GPS units were required to attend the water tower by Clair Road East to locate and check on the well-being of the Complainant. There was a warrant out for his arrest. The Complainant had last been seen driving a yellow, Dodge Ram pick-up. The WO asked to be put on the call. A warrant was to be obtained for Harassing Communication and Fail to Comply. There was an outstanding warrant for Assault, Forcible Entry, and Fail to Comply with a Release Order. Patrol units updated the dispatcher with checks being made in the area of Victoria Road South at Clair Road East. SO #1 stated she was eastbound on Clair Road East.
Starting at about 9:23:22 a.m., SO #2 asked to be placed on the call.
Starting at about 9:34:55 a.m., GPS received a ‘ping’ location for the wellness check on the Complainant. He had reportedly issued threats and claimed to have a gun. There were concerns the Complainant would self-harm and attempt ‘death by cop’. GPS officers searched the York Road and Victoria Road area.
Starting at about 9:36:44 a.m., further information from the OPP was received indicating that the Complainant had made threats to his surety that he had a gun and was planning ‘suicide by police’.
Starting at about 9:38:17 a.m., the Complainant’s location was updated near York Road and Victoria Road.
Starting at about 9:44:56 a.m., the WO indicated that he had seen the pick-up truck southbound on Victoria Road South from Arkell Road, and that he had to turn around. The officer broadcast that the pick-up truck had just passed a marked cruiser [SO #1] which had its emergency lights on. SO #1 stated the suspect vehicle was overtaking vehicles in the wrong traffic lanes southbound. An unknown officer broadcast that the Complainant travelled southbound through Clair Road East. An unknown officer wanted to ensure that no officer attempted to signal the pick-up by activating their emergency lights.
Starting at about 9:46:37 a.m., an unknown officer broadcast there was a collision at Victoria Road South at Clair Road East. Two vehicles were involved. The pick-up truck had flipped, and more ambulances were required. SO #1 advised she had tried calling-out to the Complainant, who was trapped in his vehicle, and all she heard was breathing.
Starting at about 9:48:22 a.m., the dispatcher asked over the air if any officers had attempted to signal the pick-up by activating their emergency lights. SO #1 stated she had done so briefly.
Starting at about 9:48:57 a.m., the WO reported the Complainant was unresponsive but could not confirm the presence of a firearm.
In-car Camera System (ICCS) FootageThe WO’s Cruiser
At 9:45:38 a.m., having observed the Complainant’s pick-up truck travelling south on Victoria Road South [near the intersection with Arkell Road], the WO performed a U-turn to follow the Complainant but lost sight of him.
Figure 1 - Snapshot from ICCS of WO’s cruiser after he completed the U-turn at Victoria Road South and Arkell Road. The Complainant’s pick-up truck was not in sight, nor did it appear at any time in the footage.
Starting at about 9:47:23 a.m., on September 23, 2023, the WO, travelling south on Victoria Road South, arrived at the intersection of Victoria Road South and Clair Road East, where a motor vehicle collision had occurred. Two marked cruisers with overhead lights activated were present at the intersection. SO #1 stood near a black pick-up truck with front damage; a male civilian [CW #2] was captured inspecting the trailer on his truck. A silver sedan with front-end damage was at the southwest corner of the intersection [CW #1]. South of the intersection in the southbound lane was the overturned yellow truck operated by the Complainant.
Figure 2 - Snapshot from ICCS of the WO’s police cruiser as he arrived at the MVC scene. The police cruisers of SO #2 and SO #1 are depicted as is the vehicle operated by CW #1 and a portion of the debris field.
The WO exited his cruiser and spoke with CW #2 before he walked south on Victoria Road South towards the Complainant’s vehicle. A police officer spoke to CW #1 who sat on the grass near a hydro post at the southwest portion of the intersection. Near her stood another female [CW #3].
SO #1’s Cruiser
SO #1 was captured travelling north in her cruiser on Victoria Road. She pulled to the east curb and stopped her cruiser.
At 9:45:53 a.m., September 23, 2023, a yellow pick-up truck passed her southbound on Victoria Road South.
SO #1 made a U-turn on Victoria Road South and accelerated southbound. She passed other southbound vehicles as they pulled to the west curb and stopped at the shoulder. The officer entered the intersection of Victoria Road South, by Frederick Drive, by travelling in the northbound lane of traffic. In the horizon to the south, a police cruiser operated by SO #2 was also southbound. It had its emergency roof lights activated.
Figure 3 - Snapshot from ICCS of SO #1’s cruiser after she performed the U-turn to follow the pick-up truck. The red arrow points to the Complainant’s pick-up truck which is depicted in the distance.
Figure 4 - Snapshot from ICCS of SO #1’s cruiser as she approached the intersection with Fredrick Drive.
At 9:46:55 a.m., SO #1 arrived at Victoria Road South and Clair Road East. She stopped her cruiser, which had its emergency roof lights on. She parked near the east guard rail, exited her cruiser, and ran southbound on Victoria Road South through the debris field.
SO #2’s Cruiser
SO #2 was captured travelling northbound on Victoria Road and then stopped on the east shoulder.
At 9:46:18 a.m., September 23, 2023, a yellow pick-up truck travelled southbound through the intersection of Victoria Road South at Frederick Drive, entering the intersection on a red light. SO #2 completed a U-turn at the intersection of Victoria Street South at Frederick Drive before accelerating southbound on Victoria Road South.
Several vehicles, also southbound, pulled to the west shoulder to allow SO #2 to pass southbound. The pick-up truck passed several stopped vehicles and entered the northbound lane. SO #2 drove around the stopped vehicles and re-entered the southbound lane.
At 9:46:44 a.m., SO #2 reached the intersection of Victoria Street South and Clair Road East approximately two seconds after the collision and was the first cruiser on scene.
Figure 5 - Snapshot from ICCS of SO #2’s cruiser of the collision scene. The yellow arrow on the left points to CW #2’s vehicle and the yellow arrow on the right points to CW #1’s vehicle. The red arrow points to the Complainant’s vehicle.
Figure 6 - Snapshot from ICCS of SO #2’s cruiser as he arrived at the collision scene. The picture depicts the three civilian vehicles involved in the collision. It is apparent the collision had just occurred as dust could be seen still in the air. It is also noted that the traffic signal for southbound traffic on Victoria Road South was red.
Body-Worn Camera (BWC) FootageThe WO
On September 23, 2023, at 9:45:57, the WO travelled south on Victoria Road South, Guelph, in an unmarked cruiser when he observed another cruiser [SO #1] with emergency lights activated. The remainder of the footage was of little evidentiary value as it mainly concerned the events following the collision.
The footage from the BWC of SO #1 was of little evidentiary value as it mainly concerned the events following the collision.
The footage from the BWC of SO #2 was of little evidentiary value as it mainly concerned the events following the collision.
Materials Obtained from Police Service Upon request, the SIU obtained the following records from the OPP and GPS between September 24, 2023, and October 16, 2023:
- General Occurrence Report; and
- General Occurrence Supplementary Report.
GPS Records:General Occurrence Report;
- CPIC message from Oxford County OPP;
- Communications recordings;
- Computer-assisted dispatch report;
- Policy - Suspect Apprehension Pursuits;
- ICCS footage – WO;
- ICCS footage – SO #1;
- ICCS footage – SO #2;
- BWC footage – WO;
- BWC footage – SO #1;
- BWC footage – SO #2;
- Global Positioning System tracking data – WO;
- Global Positioning System tracking data – SO #1;
- Global Positioning System tracking data – SO #2; and
- Notes – WO.
- Materials Obtained from Other Sources
- Cell phone log from CW #6;
- CW #1’s medical records from Guelph General Hospital (GGH); and
- CW #2’s medical records from GGH.
In the morning of September 23, 2023, GPS officers were attempting to locate the Complainant. The OPP had contacted them seeking their assistance with a welfare check. They had received information that the Complainant, wanted for several offences, was of unsound mind. It was also reported that he was in possession of a firearm and had threatened to harm himself via ‘suicide by cop’. The OPP had pinged the Complainant’s cell phone to the Guelph area.
GPS officers in cruisers had begun to converge on and around Victoria Road South following further pings suggesting the Complainant was operating his vehicle – a yellow pick-up truck – in that area. WO was the first to spot him. The officer, operating an unmarked cruiser, was travelling north on Victoria Road South around the Arkell Road intersection when he observed the Complainant’s pick-up travelling south towards him. The pick-up passed his location and the officer maneuvered his cruiser to continue south on Victoria Road South. In the distance, WO noted a marked cruiser stopped facing north by the east side of the road.
The marked cruiser was being operated by SO #1. She too had observed the Complainant travelling south on Victoria Road South towards her location and had pulled over in the area of Summerfield Drive before executing a U-turn to travel south after the pick-up truck.
South of SO #1’s location, also travelling north on Victoria Road South, was SO #2. The officer was in the area of Frederick Drive when the Complainant sped past him, after which he performed a three-point turn into the southbound lane to chase after the pick-up truck. SO #2, with SO #1 behind him, travelled a matter of seconds and upwards of 300 metres when he came upon the site of a vehicular collision on Victoria Road South and Clair Road East.
The Complainant had picked-up his speed in the seconds before the collision, presumably aware of the police presence behind him. He entered the Clair Road East intersection on a red light and collided with a vehicle – a Hyundai Elantra – making a left-hand turn from eastbound Clair Road East onto the northbound lane of Victoria Road South. The pick-up truck continued southwards and struck another pick-up truck – a Honda Ridgeline – before it continued south and flipped onto its roof. The Complainant’s speed five seconds before impact was 126 km/h. At impact, his speed was 124 km/h.
SO #2 was the first officer at the collision scene, arriving seconds after impact. SO #1 followed soon behind. The officers rendered care to the parties involved in the collision and arranged for the attendance of fire fighters and paramedics.
The sole occupants of the Hyundai Elantra and Honda Ridgeline were fortunate to have escaped serious injury.
The Complainant suffered catastrophic injuries in the collision and was pronounced deceased at the scene.
Cause of DeathThe pathologist at autopsy was of the preliminary view that the Complainant’s death was attributable to ‘blunt impact head trauma’.
Section 320.13 (3) Criminal Code – Dangerous Operation Causing Death
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. As an offence of penal negligence, a simple want of care will not suffice to give rise to liability. Rather, 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 observed in the circumstances. In the instant case, the issue is whether there was a want of care in the manner in which either subject official operated their vehicles, sufficiently egregious to attract criminal sanction, that caused or contributed to the collision. In my view, there was not.
SO #1 and SO #2 were engaged in the lawful execution of their duties when they decided to pursue the Complainant. They had reason to believe that the Complainant, wanted on an arrest warrant, was in possession of a firearm and a danger to himself and others. In the circumstances, his apprehension was both lawful and imperative in the interests of public safety.
I am also satisfied that the subject officials comported themselves with due care and regard for public safety in the course of their brief engagement with the Complainant. The evidence indicates that the officers proceeded southbound after the pick-up truck at reasonably moderate speeds and well behind the vehicle. Wisely, both officers activated their emergency equipment when maneuvering from a northbound to southbound direction of travel to alert third-party traffic to their intentions, but then de-activated their equipment so as not to provoke the Complainant. Regrettably, it appears the Complainant caught on to the officers’ presence behind him, accelerated to dangerous speeds, and blew through a red light en route to the collision. I am unable to reasonably conclude that the subject officials erred when they chose to pursue the Complainant. For starters, it is not at all clear that the Complainant would not have embarked on his reckless course but for the officers’ pursuit; that is, the Complainant’s mere detection of the officers on the roadway might well have been enough to spur him on. Beyond that, it is not at all clear that foregoing an opportunity to apprehend the Complainant was not without its own risks. Aware that the Complainant was of unsound mind and might be armed, the officers would have been concerned for public safety were the Complainant allowed to get away.
In the result, as there are no reasonable grounds to conclude that either subject official transgressed the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law in their dealings with the Complainant, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges. The file is closed.
Date: January 18, 2024
Electronically approved by
Special Investigations Unit
- 1) Unless otherwise specified, the information in this section reflects the information received by the SIU at the time of notification and does not necessarily reflect the SIU’s finding of facts following its investigation. [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.