Police watchdog won't lay charges in crash involving Ottawa officer

·2 min read
An Ottawa police officer was involved in a crash with a car at Hunt Club and Conroy roads on Sept. 7, 2021. The SIU investigation concluded no charges will be laid. (CBC - image credit)
An Ottawa police officer was involved in a crash with a car at Hunt Club and Conroy roads on Sept. 7, 2021. The SIU investigation concluded no charges will be laid. (CBC - image credit)

Ontario's police watchdog will not press charges against the on-duty officer who crashed a marked police cruiser into an SUV at the intersection of Hunt Club and Conroy roads, even though the officer was found to be at fault for the crash.

A report from the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) says the police officer was driving a marked Ford Explorer while "responding to a call for service involving a missing four-year-old boy" on Sept. 7 just before 5 p.m.

The report doesn't give any context for the urgency of this call, but says the officer — going north on Conroy — came to a stop in the passing lane behind another vehicle that was stopped for a red light at Hunt Club.

"She then activated her siren and emergency lights, and passed the stopped vehicle along its driver's side, after which she slowly entered the intersection," SIU director Joseph Martino said in the report.

The officer slowly accelerated as it cleared Hunt Club's eastbound lanes, entering the westbound lanes. A Hyundai Tuscon SUV was also travelling westbound through the intersection when it was struck by the officer.

Two people inside the SUV were taken to hospital. The driver suffered a concussion and the passenger had fractures fo the left wrist and spine, according to the report.

'Little doubt' officer responsible

While the SIU won't pursue charges, the report acknowledged the officer was at fault for the crash.

"There is little doubt that the [officer] is responsible for the collision," Martino wrote. "On the other hand, this is not a case in which it can be said that the officer was markedly careless."

Martino said he was "satisfied" speed played no role in the collision, though he acknowledged her speeds before the collision were well over the posted speed limit.

"In the course of spanning almost three kilometres, the [driver] reached and maintained speeds over 120 km/h, reaching 135.6 km/h before slowing as [she] approached the intersection at Hunt Club Road," the report said.

The report described the officer's actions as a "momentary lapse of attention which fall short of transgressing the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law."

"Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case."

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