SIU Concludes Investigation into Traffic Fatality in West Elgin

MISSISSAUGA, ON, Sept. 24 /CNW/ - The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ian Scott, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer with the Elgin County Detachment committed a criminal offence in relation to the death of a 31 year old man in July 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 July 6, 2009 at approximately 1:20 p.m., the subject officer and Constable Alan Hack, who was in the rear passenger seat of the subject officer's police vehicle, were attempting to apprehend a man who had recently fled from a motor vehicle. They were traveling on Furnival Road and then turned east onto Thompson Line. The officer made a U-turn on this road, and then proceeded to make a left hand turn from Thompson Line onto Furnival Road in order to go south. She was traveling at a low rate of speed but did not stop at the stop sign. A southbound tractor-trailer collided with the OPP cruiser, causing catastrophic injuries to Constable Hack. He was transported to hospital where he ultimately died of his injuries.

Director Scott said, "At the point of impact, the police cruiser was traveling at either a slow rate of speed or was stationary. In deciding whether the subject officer engaged in driving that was a marked departure from the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the circumstances, I have taken into consideration the following factors. This collision happened in broad daylight on a straight road. The speed reported from the downloaded black box seized from the tractor-trailer at the point of impact indicated a truck speed of 47 km/h, well below the posted speed limit of 80 km/h. There is no suggestion of alcohol or drugs affecting the driving ability of the subject officer. Further, there does not appear to be anything that would have obstructed the view of the subject officer at the corner of the two roadways. The most reasonable interpretation of this tragic event is that the subject officer never saw the tractor-trailer until the last moment due to her attention being focused on the apprehension of the individual who was attempting to elude the police."

Director Scott concluded, "Taking into consideration all of the material circumstances, and in particular the subject officer's fleeting inadvertence, her slow speed and her apparent attempt to stop to avoid the collision, I am of the view that the subject officer's driving, notwithstanding the catastrophic consequences, was not a marked departure from a similarly situated reasonable person. Accordingly, there are no reasonable grounds in my view to believe that the subject officer committed a criminal offence in relation to the motor vehicle collision causing the death of Constable Hack."

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.

SOURCE SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT

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

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SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT

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