SIU Concludes Investigation into Serious Injury in Marathon, Ontario



    TORONTO, Sept. 23 /CNW/ - The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has
determined that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that an Ontario
Provincial Police officer committed a criminal offence in connection with a
serious injury in a construction zone east of Marathon, Ontario.
    "Following my review of the evidence, I am of the view that there are no
reasonable grounds to support a charge of dangerous driving against the
subject officer," concluded SIU Director James Cornish. "The constable's
conduct in the course of the brief pursuit was not a marked departure from the
standard of care that any reasonable person would have exercised in these
circumstances."
    At approximately 4 p.m. on May 28, 2008, the OPP officer with the
Marathon detachment was patrolling eastbound on Highway 17 of the Trans-Canada
Highway when he noticed a Pontiac Sunfire travelling in the opposite direction
at speeds ranging from 110 - 150 kilometres an hour through a construction
zone. The officer turned his cruiser around, activated the emergency roof
lights and attempted to follow and stop the speeding car before it reached an
area of the construction zone where workers were engaged in roadwork about
nine kilometers east of Marathon near the Pic River Bridge.
    As soon as the driver of the car saw the officer following him, he
increased his speed and began swerving in and out of the traffic in front of
him in an effort to evade the officer. When the driver entered the active area
of construction, he lost control of his vehicle, went off onto the shoulder of
the highway, struck the cable guardrails and swerved back onto the highway.
The construction workers who saw this, jumped out of the way; however, one of
them was struck by the car. The vehicle did not remain at the scene of the
collision. OPP officers found the vehicle abandoned a short distance away and
later arrested and charged a man.
    The construction flagman, 58-year-old David Murr of Hanover, sustained
two broken legs, a fractured left hip, two fractured ankles and a fractured
foot.
    "The pursuit was very brief, lasting less than a minute," added Mr.
Cornish. "I note, moreover, that there is no indication that the subject
officer's driving was itself a danger to the public. To the contrary, it
appears the use by the officer of his emergency lights and siren served to
warn several of the construction workers up ahead of the coming peril,
allowing them to take evasive action."
    Five SIU field investigators and one forensic investigator were assigned
to the case in which one subject officer and seven witness officers were
designated; eight civilians were also interviewed. The SIU reviewed OPP
communications tapes, and reports from the OPP's Traffic Collision
Reconstructionist and the Ministry of Labour's Occupational Health and Safety
Branch during the investigation.

    The SIU is a civilian agency that investigates cases of serious injuries
(including allegations of sexual assault) and deaths involving the police.
Pursuant to section 113 of the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU is
mandated to consider whether a criminal offence has been committed by an
officer(s) in connection with the incident under investigation and, where
warranted by the evidence, to cause a criminal charge or charges to be laid
against the officer(s). The Director reports the results of investigations to
the Attorney General.





For further information:

For further information: John Yoannou, SIU Communications/Service des
communications, UES, Telephone/No de telephone: (416) 622-2342 or/ou
1-800-787-8529; For general information about the SIU, please visit our
website at www.siu.on.ca

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