No charges against RCMP officer after driver injured in rollover crash following police pursuit

·2 min read
Multiple emergency crews were called to the scene of a serious crash in Surrey on Jan. 7, 2020.
Multiple emergency crews were called to the scene of a serious crash in Surrey on Jan. 7, 2020.

(Shane MacKichan - image credit)

A B.C. RCMP officer will not be charged in connection with a rollover crash after an attempted traffic stop in Surrey, B.C., last month.

The Crown said it would not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officer, who has not been identified, committed a crime in relation to the crash on Jan. 7.

The officer tried to pull over a suspected impaired driver along 140 Avenue around 9:30 p.m. The officer was in an unmarked vehicle and turned on their lights and sirens, but the driver did not stop.

The driver instead drove through an intersection, with the officer in pursuit.

The driver ultimately lost control and flipped multiple times near 160 Street, according to an initial statement from RCMP. They were hospitalized with critical injuries, including a spinal cord injury.

A car flipped multiple times before ending up in the ditch along 104 Avenue in Surrey, B.C., on Jan. 7, 2020.
A car flipped multiple times before ending up in the ditch along 104 Avenue in Surrey, B.C., on Jan. 7, 2020.

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. was called in due to the seriousness of the driver's injuries. In a report to Crown, the IIO said its team believed there "were reasonable grounds to believe the officer may have committed offences."

The Crown weighed charges against the officer for running red lights and breaking the speed limit while following the driver.

The IIO in its statement points out, that for officers engaged in the lawful execution of their duties, the Motor Vehicle Act provides an exemption from compliance with traffic controls, unless their driving is deemed a danger to the public.

But on Tuesday, the Crown said the available evidence doesn't meet the charge assessment standard. In making decisions on charge approval, the Crown weighs whether there is a substantial likelihood of conviction and, if so, whether prosecution is in the public interest.

In this case, the Crown said it would only be able to prosecute the officer for running a fresh red light during the pursuit without coming to a full stop and without sirens on but said the public interest bar wasn't met because the breach is minor and likely wouldn't lead to a sentence.