Police officers involved in 401 crash declined interview, didn't submit notes: SIU

Ontario's police watchdog says two officers whose actions are being investigated as part of a probe into a fatal wrong-way crash on Highway 401 have so far not agreed to be interviewed and have not submitted their notes.

The Special Investigations Unit, in providing an update on its investigation into the April crash in Whitby, Ont., says the officers have a legal right to decline interviews and not submit notes.

Two grandparents and their infant grandchild died in the crash, as did a 21-year-old man in a suspect vehicle driving the wrong way on the highway while being chased by police.

The crash raised questions about the police decision to pursue a suspect van in an alleged liquor store robbery into oncoming traffic on one of Canada's busiest highways.

The SIU has said Durham Region police were chasing a cargo van that had been identified as a vehicle of interest in the robbery in Clarington, Ont., with the pursuit later shifting to Highway 401.

The watchdog says a 38-year-old man who was a passenger in the cargo van remains in hospital.

The SIU says 19 witness officers are in the process of being interviewed, while 36 civilian witnesses have been interviewed.

It also says it now has more than 100 videos related to what happened, including from in-car footage, drone footage, body-worn camera footage and civilian recordings.

The two grandparents killed in the crash were visiting from India. The father and mother of the three-month-old boy who died in the crash were also in the family's vehicle at the time but survived.

The father of the baby has said the pain of losing his son and parents was far worse than the physical injuries he suffered in the crash, describing the grief he and his wife felt as agonizing.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 12, 2024.

The Canadian Press