Special Investigations Unit (SIU)

Special Investigations Unit (SIU)

August 29, 2011 14:38 ET

SIU Concludes Collision Investigation in Mattawa

MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 29, 2011) - The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ian Scott, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge any officers of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) North Bay Detachment with a criminal offence in regards to a police pursuit and the associated injuries sustained by a 47-year-old Laurentian Township man in a motor vehicle collision on August 7th of this year.

The SIU assigned three SIU investigators, two SIU forensic investigators (FI) and an SIU Collision Reconstructionist to investigate this occurrence. The scene was photographed, measured and a diagram was prepared. The immediate area was canvassed and no video surveillance devices were found along the pursuit route. The pursuit route was measured and videotaped by SIU FI and found to be nine kilometres in length. Two officers were designated as witness officers and interviewed. One officer was designated as a subject officer and, as is his right, declined to be interviewed by the SIU. One civilian witness was interviewed.

The SIU investigation determined that around 1:15 a.m. a witness officer and the subject officer received information that a car driven by James Smith was likely stolen. The subject officer saw the vehicle, and signaled for it to stop. The vehicle obeyed the officer's signals, stopped and the officer approached the stationary vehicle. Mr. Smith sped off when the officer tried to open the car door. The subject officer initiated a pursuit and was the lead vehicle. Both officers activated their emergency equipment. The pursuit entered westbound on Hwy 17 from Valley Drive near the OPP Mattawa detachment. The traffic was light to non-existent. The witness officer stayed in touch with the Communication Centre, and indicated the two police cruisers' speeds, the road, weather and traffic conditions. The pursuit lasted three minutes with speeds of up to 140 km/hr. It ended when Mr. Smith lost control of his vehicle west of Tiger Lake Road in a strip of road construction. His car flipped a number of times and came to rest in a wooded area near the roadway. Mr. Smith sustained multiple fractures and internal bleeding. He was initially taken to Mattawa Hospital and later transferred to North Bay Hospital for further treatment.

Director Scott said, "The involved officers had the lawful authority to initiate a suspect apprehension pursuit after Mr. Smith sped away from the witness officer pursuant to ss. 3(1)(a) of O.Reg 266/10 to the Police Services Act; they had reasonable grounds to believe he was driving a stolen car. The pursuit complied with the conditions of the regulation: dispatch was notified and updated, public safety and road conditions were taken into consideration. There is no suggestion of physical contact between the subject officer's vehicle and that of the complainant."

Director Scott concluded, "In my view, the injuries sustained by the complainant were the result of his driving when he attempted to flee from the police. There is no suggestion that the subject officer did anything wrong in these circumstances."

The SIU is an arm's length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault. Under the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU must

  • consider whether an officer has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation

  • depending on the evidence, lay a criminal charge against the officer if appropriate or close the file without any charges being laid

  • report the results of any investigations to the Attorney General.

Contact Information

  • SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
    Frank Phillips
    416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529