MISSISSAUGA, ON, May 13 /CNW/ - The Director of the Special
Investigations Unit (SIU), Ian Scott, has concluded that there are no
reasonable grounds to believe that a Hamilton Police Service (HPS) officer
committed a criminal offence in relation to the death of an 18 year old
Hamilton woman in March of this year.
The SIU assigned four investigators and three forensic investigators to
probe the circumstances of this occurrence.
The SIU investigation determined that on March 28, 2009 shortly after
8:00 p.m. an HPS officer decided to stop a car that was westbound on King
Street for a Highway Traffic Act offence. The officer activated his police
car's emergency lights. The driver of the car, 45 year old Terry Ritchie of
Hamilton, did not stop for the officer. Instead Mr. Ritchie accelerated away.
He drove through a red light at the intersection of Wellington Street North
and Wilson Street and collided with a southbound minivan. The pursuit was
short with the entire event lasting approximately thirty seconds. The
passenger in Mr. Ritchie's vehicle, his daughter Natasha Ritchie, sustained
fatal injuries in the crash. Mr. Ritchie sustained numerous fractures.
Director Scott said, "The subject officer had the right to stop Mr.
Ritchie's vehicle pursuant to s. 216 of the Highway Traffic Act. He further
had the right to enter into a pursuit for the failure of the vehicle to stop
for the purpose of driver identification under the 'Suspect Apprehension
Pursuit Regulations' to the Police Services Act. The driver of the pursued
vehicle chose to enter an intersection against a red light and was the sole
cause of this tragic accident." Director Scott added, "I have no reasonable
grounds to believe that the subject officer committed any Criminal Code
driving offences while engaging in the lawful execution of his duties in
attempting to stop the Ritchie vehicle."
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: Frank Phillips, SIU Communications/Service des
communications, UES, Telephone/No de telephone: (416) 622-2342 or/ou