SIU Concludes Investigation into London Collision

MISSISSAUGA, ON, Nov. 27 /CNW/ - The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ian Scott, has concluded there are no reasonable grounds to believe that an officer with the London Police Service (LPS) committed a criminal offence in connection with the injuries sustained by a 28-year-old woman in August of this year.

The SIU assigned five investigators and two forensic investigators to probe the circumstances surrounding this incident.

The SIU investigation determined that on August 23, 2009, the subject officer was operating an LPS cruiser with subdued markings. At approximately 7:00 p.m., he noticed a green Jeep back out of the driveway of a Barker St. residence and head south. Believing the individual behind the wheel to be Jennifer Nanibush, a person prohibited from driving, the officer followed the Jeep. A short time later, the officer was able to positively identify the driver as Ms. Nanibush. He continued to follow her, and eventually activated his roof lights. Instead of stopping, Ms. Nanisbush turned east onto Victoria St. and then south onto Linwood St. During this time, Ms Nanibush was observed committing several driving infractions. The officer was ordered to stop his pursuit of Ms. Nanibush, and instead to follow her at a distance without emergency equipment activated to observe her driving. Ms. Nanibush turned east onto Oxford St. and then south onto Highbury Ave. The officer was then authorized to stop Ms. Nanibush, without making any physical contact with the Jeep.

Ms Nanibush's vehicle accelerated southbound on Highbury Ave. and was observed failing to yield to a number of traffic control signals, nearly colliding with eastbound vehicular traffic at one of the intersections. The subject officer and two other officers began organizing a rolling block (technique in which police cruisers surround a vehicle in order to slow it down). Ms. Nanibush was by this time traveling in the curb lane of Highbury Ave., while the subject officer drove in the passing lane beside the Jeep. As the Jeep started to move onto the gravel shoulder on the west side of Highbury Ave., the subject officer moved gradually into the curb lane. Shortly thereafter, the Jeep veered toward the police vehicle and made contact with it, causing the Jeep to leave the roadway, enter the west ditch, and roll several times before coming to rest on its passenger side, facing east. The officer's cruiser also left the roadway and came to a stop on its four wheels facing south in the same ditch. Ms. Nanibush suffered traumatic injuries, rendering her a paraplegic.

Director Ian Scott said, "After a short pursuit of Ms. Nanibush's vehicle, the officer discontinued the pursuit and continued to follow her. However, his observations of her driving led him to reactivate the pursuit. In an attempt to stop her, the subject officer and two other officers attempted a rolling block of the complainant's vehicle on Highbury Ave. At this point, Highbury Ave. is a four lane roadway (two lanes in each direction) divided by a grass median in the outskirts of the city with no other traffic. The suspect apprehension pursuit regulations permit the use of a rolling block in these circumstances: ss. 9(5) of O.Reg 546/99. The investigation suggests the collision was not caused by an intentional steering of the subject officer's vehicle into the pursued vehicle. Accordingly, given the fact that the subject officer had reasonable grounds to engage in the pursuit and ensuing rolling block, the risk that Ms. Nanibush's vehicle represented to the public safety, the lack of intentional contact, and the sparse traffic on this roadway, I am of the view that the officer's driving was not a marked departure from a similarly situated police officer engaging in this activity. Consequently, I am satisfied that the level of care exercised by the officer fell within the limits prescribed by the criminal law. The outcome of the collision unfortunately caused traumatic injuries to Ms. Nanibush."

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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