MISSISSAUGA, ON, Jan. 5 /CNW/ - The Deputy Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), James Stewart, has concluded there are no reasonable grounds to believe that an officer with the Barrie Police Service committed a criminal offence in relation to the death of a 48-year-old man in August of this year.
The SIU assigned eight investigators and two forensic investigators to probe the circumstances of this occurrence.
The SIU investigation determined that on August 25, 2009, the subject officer received information that a yellow Mitsubishi was being driven with improper plates. At approximately 3:30 p.m., he stopped a vehicle fitting that description on Ferndale Drive South, just south of Dunlop Street West in the city of Barrie. However, the young driver refused to identify himself and sped away southbound on Ferndale Drive, toward Tiffin Street. The officer began a pursuit with emergency equipment activated. During this time, the driver was observed committing several driving infractions. A short time later, the youth entered the Ferndale Drive and Essa Road intersection and collided with the vehicle of Steven Tuck of Barrie. Mr. Tuck was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Deputy Director Stewart said, "The subject officer was in pursuit of the Mitsubishi for approximately three minutes from the time of the initial stop to shortly before the collision at Essa Road. During this time, he reached significant speeds but also slowed down considerably at the Tiffin Street intersection and again approaching the Essa Rd intersection. The roads were dry and in good repair, and the traffic conditions were initially heavy but lighter as the vehicles moved south of Tiffin Street. While the pursuit route went through a marked school zone, the pedestrian traffic of school aged children was negligible due to the summer vacation break.
"The subject officer had the lawful authority to initiate the pursuit pursuant to the 'Suspect Apprehension Pursuits' section of the Police Services Act, as the driver refused to identify himself, and because the improper license plate markers made it difficult to identify the vehicle. Further, the officer may have reasonably apprehended that the vehicle was stolen, affording him another ground to engage in the pursuit. There is no suggestion of contact between the pursuing and pursued vehicles. As well, the officer had the authority to enter into the pursuit, and the authority to exceed the speed limit pursuant to s. 128(13)(b) of the Highway Traffic Act because he was acting in the lawful performance of his duties."
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