Officer breached pursuit rules, but did nothing criminal in crash: SIU

A city police officer did nothing that merits criminal charges after the driver of a stolen vehicle he pulled over for speeding then raced off and crashed last year, leaving a 16-year-old passenger injured, the province’s civilian police watchdog said Friday.

Special Investigations Unit director Tony Loparco said that the driver was to blame for the injuries, but the unidentified officer breached provincial regulations and OPS policy to “immediately notify and continually update” dispatchers when initiating a pursuit.

Instead, his “radio was silent” and he didn’t contact dispatch until he was in a foot pursuit of another youth who escaped the wrecked car.

The pursuit portion of this incident started on Bank Street, on a section that is some distance from the downtown in an area that is more open and commercial than residential. The vehicles travelled a short distance northwest on Bank Street, then north on Albion Road and east on Hunt Club Road. This is an evidence photo from the SIU report on a car crash in October 2017.

“Since the (subject officer) had the opportunity to access his in-car computer terminal during the pursuit, I can only assume that he would have been equally capable of contacting the dispatcher and putting the decision of whether or not to continue a vehicular pursuit into the hands of a communications supervisor” as is required, Loparco wrote.

Those concerns will be brought to the attention of the city’s chief and “hopefully, will be appropriately dealt with,” Loparco said.

Two officers in separate cruisers were running radar on Bank Street south of Hunt Club Road just after 6 p.m. on Oct. 11, 2017.

While one officer was ticketing a motorist, the second officer who became the subject of the investigation was using a hand-held laser gun to monitor Bank Street traffic when he spotted a black Honda heading northwest at high speed.

The officer got into his car and gave pursuit, but the vehicle turned right onto Albion Road. The officer caught up and the Honda pulled over on the south side of the Hunt Club Road intersection.

As the officer approached on foot, the Honda again sped off heading east onto Hunt Club Road.

It would reach speeds of up to 187 km/h in the seconds before it mounted a curb, downed a traffic pole at the Pike Street intersection, rolled onto its roof, sliced through a wooden fence and landed in a resident’s front yard.

The police officers arrived about 30 seconds later as the driver and a second passenger fled the scene. They were arrested soon after as the injured youth was extricated from the vehicle and rushed to the hospital.

The youth suffered a fracture of the third vertebra in his neck and was still in the hospital with some paralysis in his right arm and both legs when investigators wrote the report, dated October 2018.

“I find that ultimately it was the voluntary decision of (the driver) to try to evade police and, in doing so, driving at an extreme rate of speed with no regard for other people using the roads which ultimately caused the collision and his passenger’s, the complainant’s, injuries,” Loparco said.


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