Ottawa police not blamed for injury accident

Ottawa police not blamed for injury accident

Joseph Martino, director for the Special Investigation Unit (SIU), released his report on a motor vehicle accident that occurred June 24, 2019, on St-Guillaume Road near Embrun. A 60-year-old who was fleeing from the Ottawa Police suffered a fractured vertebra as a result of the accident.

The case was turned over to the SIU, which is an independent agency that investigates cases involving police where injury, death or sexual assault is alleged. Director Martino concluded «there are no reasonable grounds» to believe that the police committed any criminal action in their pursuit that makes them responsible for his injury.

Case summary

Martino’s report summarized the incident, based on separate interviews with the complainant and police officers either involved or witnesses to the incident.

Police were pursuing a stolen 2019 Toyota 4Runner, which also had stolen Quebec licence plates. The chase on June 24, 2019, began in Ottawa just before 5 a.m. from Hunt Club Road and continued for 20 minutes via the 417 Highway and then onto St-Guillaume Road towards the Village of Embrun in Russell Township.

The stolen vehicle went out of control and rolled in the roundabout at the village entrance from St-Guillaume Road. The complainant was taken to Montfort Hospital, diagnosed with and treated for minor injuries and released later that morning.

The complainant still claimed to be in pain and was taken back to the hospital for X-rays and an MRI scan. A vertebra fracture was diagnosed and he was sent to Ottawa Civic Hospital under guard for further treatment.

SIU examination of the patrol car involved in the chase showed no signs that it had made any contact with the Toyota during the pursuit. Also the vehicle GPS and other recording equipment showed that during the highway portion of the pursuit, the two vehicles reached a maximum speed of 190 kilometres an hour in what was, at the time, a 100 kph zone. Transcripts of radio dispatch conversations during the chase indicated highway traffic was «light» at the time and road conditions dry.

The pursuing patrol slowed down to about 43 kilometres to negotiate a right-hand turn onto St-Guillaume Road from the Rockdale Road exit from the highway. Radio transcript indicates both vehicles were then travelling at 170 kph on St-Guillaume Road towards Embrun. OPP patrol cars were on the way to provide support and then paramedics were called when the Toyota went out of control at the roundabout.

Director Martino noted that the pursuing officer was in constant contact with dispatch and other officers during the chase and that he slowed his own vehicle when approaching the roundabout before the complainant lost control of his own and ended up rolling the Toyota.

«There is no basis for proceeding with any charges in this case,» stated Director Martino, «and the file is closed.»

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