Fatal wrong way Hwy. 401 crash during police chase in Whitby gets investigative update

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Published June 12, 2024 at 2:03 pm

Two police officers are under investigation, the Special Investigations Unit has declared in providing a brief update on their investigation into the police chase on Highway 401 which ended in a crash which claimed the lives of four people, including a three-month-old baby and his grandparents.

The chase began after the driver of a U-Haul transport van allegedly robbed a Clarington LCBO at Green Road and Highway 2 sometime before 8 p.m. on April 29.

Durham Police officers pursued the van from the LCBO to Stevenson Road in Oshawa, a roughly 15-kilometre trip. The U-Haul driver got on Highway 401 at Stevenson, going west in the eastbound lanes.

Multiple police cruisers followed the van against traffic into Whitby, with video taken by an oncoming driver showing six cruisers in pursuit of the van by Thickson Road. Just east of Highway 412, the van collided with several other vehicles, including a sedan and a transport truck.

A total of six cars were involved in the crash, the SIU said. The grandparents, 60 and 55, and the infant, Aditya Vivaan of Ajax, were killed in the collision, as was the driver of the U-Haul, 21. Additionally, a 38-year-old passenger in the U-Haul was severely injured.

Vivaan’s parents Gokulnath Manivannan, 33, and Ashwitha Jawahar, 27, survived. The grandparents were visiting their newborn grandchild from India for the first time. They had only been in the country for two days.

Manivannan said in a later statement released by the SIU that the pain of losing his son and his parents is “far worse” than the injuries he suffered in the crash with a van that was being chased by police on Highway 401 in Whitby.

Manivannan said painful memories of the crash and what has been lost have prevented him and his wife from returning to the family home since they were released from hospital. Vivaan’s funeral was held on May 8.

The SIU launched an investigation immediately after the crash. They’ve assigned seven investigators, one forensic investigator and one collision deconstructionist who continue to investigate this case.

In an update released on June 12, they confirmed they’d identified two officers who are under investigation. However, as is their right, neither officer submitted their notes or consented to an interview.

Additionally, they have identified 19 witness officers and 36 civilian witnesses. The SIU is still interviewing the officers but has concluded their interviews with the civilians.

Furthermore, medical examiners performed autopsies on all four deceased in the days after the crash. These reports will factor into the investigation as well. Finally, investigators have collected more than 100 videos captured by other drivers, drones, body-worn cameras and the Ministry of Transportation.

The SIU is urging anyone who may have information about this investigation, including video or photos, to contact the lead investigator at 1-800-787-8529 or online.

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