SIU Concludes Investigation into Thunder Bay Fatality

    TORONTO, Feb. 15 /CNW/ - The Director of the Special Investigations Unit
(SIU), James Cornish, has concluded that, "There are no reasonable grounds to
believe that any of the officers involved in this case committed any criminal
offence in regards to the traffic death of Darlene Almos on November 6, 2007
in Thunder Bay."
    The SIU assigned two investigators, one forensic investigator and an
accident reconstructionist to probe the circumstances of this death.
    The SIU determined that at 10:15 p.m., Monday November 5, 2007, Darlene
Almos called the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) to report the theft of her
cell phone. Two OPP officers in separate police cars were dispatched to
investigate. They found Ms. Almos walking with her leashed dog along the side
of Highway 11-17 near Sunny Beach Road. Both officers pulled their police cars
completely off the highway, activated each police car's emergency lights, and
stopped beside Ms. Almos.
    Both officers got out of their respective police cars and walked around
to the passenger side's of their police cars to talk to Ms. Almos. She
appeared to be cold and she was shivering. One of the officers invited Ms.
Almos to sit in the back of his police car. She agreed to do so. He opened the
rear door of his police car to allow her and her dog to get in. As she started
to move towards the cruiser her dog pulled away and moved towards the front of
the police car. She lost her grip on the leash and the dog ran out onto
Highway 11-17. Ms. Almos ran by the officer and out onto the highway after her
dog. Both officers were yelling at her to stop because they could see traffic
approaching. Both officers ran out onto the highway in an attempt to get Ms.
Almos back to safety, but a westbound tow truck struck her. The tow truck
narrowly missed one of the OPP officers that had tried to pull her to safety.
Ms. Almos' dog was not injured.
    Ms. Almos sustained serious injuries and she was airlifted to Thunder Bay
Hospital for treatment. She succumbed to her injuries in the early morning
hours of November 6, 2007.
    Director Cornish said, "The officers involved in this case did not cause
this tragic incident. Ms. Almos did not appreciate the grave danger she was
exposing herself to as she tried to catch her dog."

    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, Telephone:
(416) 622-2342 or 1-800-787-8529

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