SIU Director’s Report - Case # 23-OVD-418
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 section 14 (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 14-year-old youth (the “Complainant”).
Notification of the SIU On October 13, 2023, at 11:15 p.m., the York Regional Police (YRP) contacted the SIU with the following information.
At approximately 7:23 pm., October 13, 2023, a YRP paid-duty police officer [later identified as the Subject Official (SO)] was patrolling the parking lot of Canada’s Wonderland, 1 Canada’s Wonderland Drive, Vaughan, in a marked police vehicle when he observed a man [later identified as the deceased, the Complainant] acting suspiciously between two vehicles on the lot. The SO exited his police vehicle to investigate the actions of the Complainant, at which point the Complainant fled on foot from the SO. The SO pursued the Complainant on foot through the lot. The Complainant continued up over a berm and onto Jane Street, where he was struck by a motor vehicle on Jane Street between Norwood Avenue and Avro Road. The SO reported the motor vehicle collision (MVC) shortly thereafter. York Paramedic - Emergency Medical Services (EMS) responded and transported the Complainant to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (SHSC) where he was reported to be in life-threatening condition with head trauma.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 2023/10/13 at 11:43 p.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 2023/10/14 at 1:55 a.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 2
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 2
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):14-year-old male; deceased
Civilian WitnessesCW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Interviewed
The civilian witnesses were interviewed between October 15 and 25, 2023.
Subject OfficialSO Interviewed, but declined to submit notes, as is the subject official’s legal right
The subject official was interviewed on October 25, 2023.
Witness OfficialsWO #1 Interviewed; notes received and reviewed
WO #2 Interviewed; notes received and reviewed
WO #3 Notes reviewed; interview deemed not necessary
WO #4 Notes reviewed; interview deemed not necessary
WO #5 Notes reviewed; interview deemed not necessary
The witness officials were interviewed on October 15, 2023.
The Scene The events in question transpired on and around the east parking lot of Canada’s Wonderland; more specifically, the northern end of the ‘drop-off - pickup’ lot at the eastern end of the parking lot, the grassy berm adjacent the ‘drop-off - pickup’ lot on its east side, and Jane Street, east of the grassy berm, between the entrance to the ‘drop-off - pickup’ lot and a distance south.
Physical Evidence On October 14, 2023, at 1:55 a.m., SIU forensic investigators arrived at the scene of a collision on Jane Street, north of Norwood Avenue, Vaughan. The weather was cool and overcast, and the roads were dry. Jane Street ran in a general north/south direction, and the roadway was paved and in a general good state of repair. Its posted speed limit was 60 km/h. There were two southbound and two northbound lanes with a dedicated centre left turn lane for both directions. Lane markings were present. Overhead streetlighting was present. Both the east and west edges of the roadway had raised concrete curbs. Norwood Plaza was located on the east side of the roadway. A grass boulevard with trees was on the west side of the roadway, and further to the west was a grassy berm that separated the roadway and the east parking lot of Canada’s Wonderland.
There was an entrance driveway on the west side of the roadway, north of the collision scene, that provided access to the parking lot of Canada’s Wonderland. The east parking lot of Canada’s Wonderland was accessed by the laneway on the west side of Jane Street. The parking lot was paved and illuminated with overhead lighting. A 1.2-metre-high metal barrier fence separated the entrance lane and the parking area. There was a grass and tree berm on the east side of the entrance laneway. The berm separated the parking area from the roadway.
YRP Traffic Reconstruction Investigators had placed yellow pylons along the scene by vehicle parts and orange pylons by personal effects. A pylon had been placed at the approximate point of impact as established by YRP Reconstruction Investigators. The location was on the west side of lane one (the passing lane) of the two northbound lanes of Jane Street.
Two vehicles were located within the scene.
Figure 1 - Two vehicles located at the scene with pilons on the roadway indicating the location of evidence
The first vehicle was a 2023 Nissan Qashqai SUV. The Nissan was oriented in a northbound direction in the centre turn lane. It was reported this vehicle was stationary at the time of the collision, but had reversed to its present location to allow EMS to assist with the Complainant. Scuffing and fabric impressions were visible to the right rear bumper area. The bumper cover was slightly separated at the seam.
The second vehicle was a 2016 4-door BMW. This vehicle was oriented in a northerly direction in lane one of the two northbound lanes. It had collision damage to the front left corner and light assembly. Denting was visible to the left front engine hood continuing along the left side engine hood. There was an impact to the bottom left corner of the front windshield. Brush-type fabric marks were in the dust of the vehicle on its left side. Items of clothing and a lighter were located on the roadway and behind the BMW. Two pylons marked where the Complainant had been located on the roadway, which was southwest of the left rear of the BMW.
Figure 2 – Collision damage on the bottom left corner of the BMW
Scene exhibits were collected and catalogued at the SIU.
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence 
Video Footage - Canada’s WonderlandThe footage captured a dark parking lot with artificial lighting. There were aisles that ran from west to east in the lot with parking spaces that faced north and south. The lot was very full. At the east end of the lot (right side of screen) was a two-lane roadway with northbound traffic. To the east of that roadway (right side of screen) was a two-lane roadway with southbound traffic only. This was an access road from southbound Jane Street that led to a passenger drop-off and pickup area. It was very busy with vehicular traffic in both lanes moving very slowly. Pedestrians continually walked and ran across this roadway into the east parking lot.
At 31 seconds into the footage, a marked YRP police vehicle, operated by the SO, entered the camera view moving very slowly. The police vehicle had its take-down lights illuminated travelling northbound at the east end of the parking lot.
At 39 seconds, the Complainant, wearing prominent white shoes, was captured walking at a normal pace from west to east about six to seven car-lengths ahead of the SO’s vehicle. The SO’s vehicle accelerated northbound towards the Complainant, who crossed the path of the SO’s vehicle.
At 53 seconds, the Complainant crossed the access road, still walking at a normal pace, between stopped vehicles on that roadway. The SO stopped his vehicle where the Complainant continued to walk eastbound across the southbound lanes of traffic on the access road. The officer exited the driver's side of his vehicle, ran up the driver's side and turned eastbound across the front of the cruiser. By this time, the Complainant was running eastbound. The SO entered the lanes of the access road.
At 56 seconds, as the SO ran across the southbound access road traffic, the Complainant ran up a grassy, tree-lined berm at the east side of the access road and out of camera view. Due to the trees, heavy foliage, and poor lighting, the Complainant could no longer be seen on the berm. The SO ran up the berm and out of camera view an undetermined distance behind the Complainant.
In-Car Camera System (ICCS) Footage – SOThe footage was recorded after the events in question and was of no investigative value.
ICCS Footage – WO #1On October 13, 2023, at 7:31 p.m., WO #1 drove northbound on Jane Street and stopped at 7:32 p.m. He had a conversation with a person, believed to be CW #1, who stated, “It’s good the cop was there, and he said, ‘I saw it.’”
At 8:15 p.m., WO #1 had further conversation with the same person, who stated, “As soon I stopped, he was there and said, ‘I saw it, I saw it, he was just running.’” WO #1 stated, “That police officer was there right away, well that’s good to know.”
At 9:40 p.m., WO #1 drove into Canada’s Wonderland.
ICCS Footage - YRP Duty Officer At 10:21 p.m., the YRP Duty Officer drove southbound on Highway 400 to Canada’s Wonderland. En route, he had a telephone call with an unknown police officer who stated, “The paid-duty officer was not forthcoming with information. There was a video of the paid-duty officer chasing prior to getting hit by the vehicle.” There was further discussion about calling the SIU.
At 10:32 p.m., the YRP Duty Officer arrived at Canada’s Wonderland.
Communications RecordingsOn October 13, 2023, at 7:23 p.m., the SO broadcast, “Vehicle struck a pedestrian at Jane and Norwood.” The dispatcher advised that an ambulance was en route.
At 7:28 p.m., the SO advised, “Male on the ground unconscious breathing slowly with no movement.”
At 7:40 p.m., WO #3 advised that the pedestrian struck by a car had been loaded into an ambulance.
Materials Obtained from Police Service Upon request, the SIU received the following materials from the YRP between October 17, 2023, and December 21, 2023:
- Communications recordings;
- Notes – WO #1;
- Notes – WO #2;
- Notes – WO #3;
- Notes – WO #5;
- Notes – WO #4;
- General Occurrence Report;
- ICCS footage;
- Involved Officers List;
- MVC Report;
- Procedure – Paid-Duty;
- Procedure – Use of Force;
- Procedure – Processing the Offender;
- Training History – SO;
- Witness List;
- Computer-Assisted Dispatch Report; and
- Statement - Civilian Witness to the Incident.
Materials Obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU obtained the following records from other sources:
- Ambulance Call Reports, received October 31, 2023;
- Medical records from SHSC, received November 7, 2023;
- Video footage from Canada’s Wonderland, received October 17, 2023; and
- Parking lot camera drawing and report from Canada’s Wonderland Security.
In the evening of October 13, 2023, the SO was working a paid-duty patrolling the east parking lot of Canada’s Wonderland, an amusement park in Toronto. He was aware of robberies that had taken place in recent weeks at the park in which the assailants had fled east across the parking lot and the adjacent roadway – Jane Street. While operating a marked YRP cruiser northwards in the access lanes just west of the ‘drop-off – pickup’ zone, the SO observed a male cross in front of his vehicle and decided to stop him. He accelerated and brought the cruiser to a stop where the male had crossed into the ‘drop-off – pickup’ zone, exited, and ran around his vehicle and eastwards. By this time, the male was also running eastward towards Jane Street.
The male was the Complainant. Aware of the SO’s presence, he had started his run midway through the ‘drop-off – pickup’ zone. He continued up and down a grassy berm and entered onto the southbound lanes of Jane Street. Having cleared the southbound lanes, the Complainant continued into the northbound passing lane and the path of a white BMW. The front driver’s side of the BMW struck the Complainant, who catapulted onto the hood of the vehicle and struck the windshield before rolling off and impacting the rear of another vehicle stopped in a left-turn lane. The Complainant suffered catastrophic injuries in the collision.
The SO was at the site of the collision within seconds. He immediately arranged for an ambulance, placed the Complainant in the recovery position, and checked on the persons whose vehicles had been struck.
Firefighters and paramedics arrived quickly and rendered care. The Complainant was transported to hospital where he succumbed to his injuries five days later.
Cause of DeathThe pathologist at autopsy was of the preliminary view that the Complainant’s death was attributable to complications from multiple blunt force trauma.
Sections 219 and 220, Criminal Code -- Criminal Negligence Causing Death
(a) in doing anything, or(b) in omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do,
(a) where a firearm is used in the commission of the offence, to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of four years; and(b) in any other case, to imprisonment for life.
Analysis and Director's Decision
The offence that arises for consideration is criminal negligence causing death contrary to section 220 of the Criminal Code. The offence is reserved for serious cases of neglect that demonstrate a wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons. It is predicated, in part, on conduct that amounts to a marked and substantial 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 was a want of care on the part of the SO, sufficiently egregious to attract criminal sanction, that caused or contributed to the Complainant’s death. In my view, there was not.
Having observed the Complainant running towards Jane Street across his path, the SO told the SIU that it was his intention to stop and investigate him for robbery. The video footage establishes that the Complainant was not, in fact, running as the officer described, but, even if he was, it is doubtful the SO had the lawful authority to detain him for investigation. The law is clear that such detentions are unlawful short of a constellation of objectively discernible facts giving rise to a reasonable suspicion that the detainee is implicated in criminal activity: R v Mann,  3 SCR 59; R. v. Simpson (1993), 12 O.R. (3d) 182. The SO might have been justifiably concerned about robberies in the area in light of recent events at the park. That, however, would not appear to have been enough to stop the Complainant given the other innocent explanations that could have accounted for his running.
Be that as it may, I am unable to reasonably conclude that the SO’s conduct was criminally negligent. The fact is, the SO never did actually effect an unlawful detention. And, as is clear from the video footage, the Complainant had started to run away from the SO before the officer even exited his cruiser. In fact, he was halfway up the berm – approximately 20 metres from the officer – by the time the SO was out and chasing him. It is not apparent that distance ever narrowed in the moments before the Complainant ventured onto the roadway and was struck. Nor is it clear that the Complainant was even aware that the SO was in foot pursuit. All of which is to say that the Complainant was not effectively forced onto the roadway.
For the foregoing reasons, I am not reasonably satisfied that the SO transgressed the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law in his brief engagement with the Complainant. As such, there is no basis for proceeding with charges.
Date: February 7, 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.