SIU clears police in crash that killed 94-year-old woman
Ryan Flanagan, CTV Kitchener
Published Wednesday, February 14, 2018 4:22PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 15, 2018 6:05AM EST
A police officer is not at fault for a crash in Brantford which left a 94-year-old woman dead, Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit has found.
The police officer was not directly involved in the collision, which occurred on the morning of Nov. 7, 2016.
According to the SIU’s report, the series of events leading to the collision began earlier in the morning, as the officer was looking for a man who was wanted in connection with a stabbing.
The officer had been watching a residence. A vehicle drove away from the residence. The officer believed the man he was looking for was in the vehicle.
The officer tried to stop the vehicle at Colborne Street and Icomm Drive. The SIU says the vehicle refused to stop and continued to drive along Colborne, straddling the centre median and turning into the path of another vehicle at the intersection of Colborne and Gilkison streets.
The driver of that other vehicle, a 71-year-old woman, suffered several broken bones in the head-on crash. A 94-year-old woman riding in the back seat was killed.
Investigators found that the man the officer had been looking for ran away from the crash scene, but was chased down and placed under arrest.
At issue for the SIU was whether the officer committed either dangerous driving or criminal negligence causing the death of the 94 year old.
According to its report, the cruiser’s speed topped out at 92 km/h. However, the officer was regularly accelerating and decelerating based on traffic conditions.
The vehicle the officer was following was travelling faster, averaging 131 km/h on Colborne before crossing the road moments before the collision.
At the time of the crash, that vehicle was doing about 50 km/h while the vehicle containing the two women was travelling at about 32 km/h. The police cruiser was about 50 metres back of the intersection.
SIU director Tony Loparco found that while the officer was driving fast to try and keep the other vehicle close, that behaviour alone did not rise to the level of being a criminal offence.
“There is no evidence that the (officer’s) driving created a danger to other users of the roadway,” he said.
Instead, Loparco, said, the fault for the collision rested with the driver of the vehicle trying to get away from the officer, noting that the driver intentionally chose to try and evade police.
“He fled at a dangerous rate of speed and carried out reckless maneuvers with no regard for other people using the road,” Loparco said.
As a result, the SIU is not recommending that any charges be laid against the officer.