Speed, icy road to blame for crash that killed Jennifer Kovach: police
Published Wednesday, July 31, 2013 10:43AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 31, 2013 6:20PM EDT
Excessive speed and poor weather conditions were the main causes of the crash that killed Const. Jennifer Kovach, Guelph police say.
Kovach, 26, died March 14 after her police cruiser crashed with a Guelph Transit bus on Imperial Road South.
Three officers completed an investigation into her death, the results of which were released Wednesday.
“Speed is a primary factor in this collision. The police cruiser exceeded the critical curve speed,” said Chief Bryan Larkin.
Kovach was on her way to assist another officer who had pulled over a vehicle in connection with a break-and-enter when the crash occurred.
According to the report, Kovach’s cruiser was travelling at 121 km/h – above the maximum speed Imperial Road could convey under the icy weather conditions that were present as she drove down the street.
Rounding a bend in the road at that speed, she entered a skid.
While recovering from the skid, the car went over a patch of ice, sending it into a second skid and into the path of the bus.
Investigators determined that the cruiser was travelling upwards of 70 km/h when it hit the bus.
Kovach was not wearing her seatbelt at the time of the crash, but Larkin said wearing a seatbelt would not have likely made a difference given the specifics of the crash.
Police officers are legally allowed to travel over the speed limit in emergency situations, but can only legally travel without seatbelts if they are transporting a prisoner, which Kovach was not doing.
Her mother, Gloria Kovach, said Wednesday that she didn’t understand why her daughter wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.
“I will always question why Jen didn’t have her seatbelt on at the time of impact,” she said.
Larkin said Guelph Police have seen significant increases in on-duty crashes involving police vehicles since 2009.
There have been 20 such crashes so far this year, up from 17 over the entirety of 2012.
Investigations into the crash by the coroner’s office and the Ministry of Labour continue.