OPP officer cleared by SIU in May head-on crash on Buckhorn

When police officers are involved in incidents where someone has been seriously injured, dies or alleges sexual assault, the Special Investigations Unit has the statutory mandate to conduct independent investigations to determine whether a criminal offence took place.

OPP officer cleared by SIU in May head-on crash on Buckhorn

Postby Thomas » Mon Sep 19, 2022 5:21 pm

OPP officer cleared by SIU in May head-on crash on Buckhorn Road that seriously injured 3 people

An Ontario Provincial Police officer has been cleared of wrongdoing after a Special Investigations Unit investigation into a head-on collision between two cars on May 20 on Buckhorn Road in Selwyn Township that left three people with serious injuries.

The officer was off-duty, driving an unmarked police pickup truck, and had noticed an Audi S3 sports car passing vehicles while heading south on Buckhorn Road from the 17th Line of Smith and began chasing the car by also passing vehicles in the southbound lane, according to the SIU.

A couple of hundred metres north of the 11th Line of Smith, the Audi made another pass but was unable to get back into the southbound lane and collided head-on with a car heading north, the SIU determined. The badly damaged sports car landed in a ditch.

A woman from the Audi suffered multiple fractures across her body, while a man from the Audi was diagnosed and treated for an undisclosed serious injury. A three-year-old child from the other car suffered a fractured right arm.

Airbag control module data indicated the Audi was travelling at 165 km/h five seconds prior to the collision and between 137 and 154 km/h when the collision occurred, while the northbound car was travelling at 86.2 km/h five seconds prior to the collision and between 53.6 and 57.8 km/h when the collision occurred.

The data also showed there was no braking from the driver of the Audi until about 0.5 seconds prior to the collision and that the driver of the other car began to apply the brakes about 1.3 seconds prior to the collision.

In a ruling issued Friday, SIU director Joseph Martino determined there were no reasonable grounds to believe the officer committed a criminal offence in the collision — even though he had passed a school bus during the chase (the Audi driver had previously passed the school bus) and was prohibited by OPP policy from chasing a vehicle while in an unmarked police vehicle.

But because the sports car driver was driving so aggressively, the officer was arguably within his rights to try to catch up to the speeder to get the vehicle’s licence number, Martino ruled.

The SIU is an independent government agency that investigates the conduct of police officers that may have resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault and/or the discharge of a firearm at a person. All investigations are conducted by SIU investigators who are civilians.

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