SIU Concludes Investigation into Hamilton Crash



    TORONTO, Nov. 23 /CNW/ - The Director of the Special Investigations Unit
(SIU) has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that a
Hamilton Police Service (HPS) officer committed any criminal offence in
relation to a fatal car crash in Hamilton on August 18, 2007.
    The SIU assigned five investigators, three forensic identification
technicians and an accident reconstructionist to investigate this incident.
    In the early morning hours of August 18, 2007 an HPS officer was
conducting speed enforcement duties near Main St. and Gage Ave. in Hamilton.
He saw a car travelling well in excess of the posted speed limit. The officer
drove onto Main Street and began to follow the car, with his emergency lights
and his siren activated. The driver of the car turned right and travelled
south on Gage Street. As the officer turned onto Gage Street to follow the car
he saw that the car was already approaching the traffic lights at Cumberland
Road.
    As the officer approached Cumberland Road he radioed police
communications to advise that he was pursuing a car. The officer lost sight of
the car as it negotiated a left hand turn onto Lawrence Road. The officer was
travelling along Gage Avenue at speeds between 80 km/hr to 90 km/hr and never
closed the distance between him and the pursued car.
    When the officer arrived onto Lawrence Road he could only see the
taillights of the car in the distance. As the officer approached Kenilworth
Avenue he began to slow down and at Rosedale Road he turned off his emergency
equipment and stopped. He advised dispatch that he was terminating the pursuit
as he had lost sight of the car.
    The driver of the Mercedes continued and drove faster than the
performance capability of his vehicle. The car became involved in a collision.
The car, which was travelling in excess of 160 km/h at the time the driver
lost control, left the roadway and struck two trees. The car then collided
into the wall of a townhouse with a great deal of force. The driver and one of
the two passengers were killed in the collision. The other passenger was taken
to Hamilton General Hospital with serious injuries.
    Director Cornish said, "The officer himself decided to terminate the
pursuit and he communicated that fact to communications as well as to the
supervisor. There is no evidence that the officer's cruiser ever made contact
with the fleeing car. Also, there is no evidence to indicate that the police
officer was following the fleeing motorist so closely or so aggressively that
he gave the fleeing driver no real chance to safely stop his vehicle.
    Director Cornish concluded, "I am of the view that the officers' driving,
as disclosed by the evidence, does not amount to a marked departure from the
standard of care of a reasonable person."

    The SIU is a civilian government agency that investigates circumstances
involving police and civilians which have resulted in serious injury, sexual
assault or death. Under Part VII, Section 113, of the Police Services Act, the
Director of the SIU has the sole authority to decide whether or not charges
are warranted based on the findings of a complete investigation. The
Director's decision is reported to the Attorney General.





For further information:

For further information: Frank Phillips, SIU Communications, Service des
communications, UES Telephone, No de telephone: (416) 622-2342 or, ou
1-800-787-8529 extension 2342

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