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Officer cleared in Penetanguishene pole crash

SIU says it's not even clear the driver of the truck involved was aware the police were following him
evidence investigation



MISSISSAUGA — The Acting Director of the Special Investigations Unit has found that no further action is warranted in a brief police pursuit that ended with a collision in Penetanguishene in November.  

Four investigators and two forensic investigators were assigned to this incident.

The subject officer – a member of the Ontario Provincial Police – provided a copy of their duty notes but did not submit to an interview with the SIU, as is their legal right.  The complainant also refused to provide a statement to the SIU.  Investigators interviewed three witness officers and seven civilian witnesses.  The investigation also included GPS data from the officer’s police cruiser.

The completed SIU investigation found the following:

  • Just before 5:00 p.m. on November 8, 2015, a man was driving his pickup truck north on Fuller Avenue.  He was speeding at almost twice the posted limited and driving recklessly as he approached Robert Street.   
  • The subject officer was on patrol and noticed the truck’s speed.  The officer then activated the cruiser’s emergency lights and started to pursue the truck. 
  • Around the same time, the man driving the pickup truck swerved into the southbound lane of Fuller Avenue, almost struck a vehicle, swerved back into the northbound lane before driving off onto the gravel shoulder, striking a hydro pole and coming to rest among a bank of trees.
  • The man was rushed to a hospital with serious injuries and kept in the intensive care unit for several days.    

Acting Director Joseph Martino said, “For all intents and purposes, the subject officer’s engagement with the man’s pickup truck was over before it began.  The officer had travelled no more than about a kilometer, trying to close the gap with the truck, when the collision occurred.  Though the GPS data indicates the officer’s cruiser reached speeds as high as 129 km/h during this brief period, there is no evidence that the officer was anywhere near the man’s vehicle at any time, or that the officer’s driving endangered other motorists in the vicinity.  Indeed, it is not even clear that the man was aware of the officer’s presence behind him.  

“It should be noted that the officer was in the lawful execution of their duty at the time, clearly within their rights in attempting to stop the truck for speeding.  Also worth noting were the favourable conditions: the road was dry and in good repair, and the weather was clear.  

“In the final analysis, it is evident on this record that the officer exercised a reasonable level of care at all times.  Accordingly, there are no grounds for charges in this case and the file is closed.”

The SIU is an arm’s length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault. Under the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU must

  • consider whether an officer has committed a criminal offence  in connection with the incident under investigation
  • depending on the evidence, lay a criminal charge against the officer if appropriate or close the file without any charges being laid
  • report the results of any investigations to the Attorney General.