No charges for cop who forced suspect off-road in Oshawa chase

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Published September 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

The officer who pushed a fleeing car into a roadside ditch and inflicted serious injuries to the driver will not face any charges after investigators found her actions just.

Durham Regional Police were investigating the theft of a truck and trailer from the area near Wilson and Howden Rds. on the evening of May 27. Officers scoured the area looking for suspects who they believed had fled on foot.

Around 5:30 p.m. one officer came across a Nissan Micra parked a little further north near Wilson and Columbus Rds. She suspected the Nissan was in the area to pick up the truck thieves and drove over to investigate. When the driver of the Micra noticed the cruiser behind her, she sped off.

The Micra driver led officers on a chase for around 20 minutes according to police radio recordings. The officer who found the Micra broadcast developments as they pursued the car. Other police cruisers soon joined the chase which moved on to Hwy. 407 and several Oshawa roads.

In their later report, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) said the Micra, “exceeded the speed limit, disregarded traffic signals, evaded police blockades, and travelled in the opposite lanes of traffic.” The Micra reached Harmony Rd. and Columbus Rd. around 6:40 p.m. and turned west onto Columbus.

As she made her way westbound, a marked police SUV overtook the Micra and tried to force a rolling stop by slowing down in its path. Two other tactical vehicles followed behind the pair. Instead of slowing, the Micra went into the eastbound lane to over take the SUV.

When the two vehicles weree next to each other, the officer in the SUV swerved into the side of the Micra. This sent the Nissan straight into the ditch on the road side where it collided with the tree line. The collision caused extensive damage to the Micra and inflicted serious injuries to the driver, including a broken knee, fractured spine and broken ribs. The officer in the SUV came to a stop a short distance down the road.

When the officer struck the Micra, it was “tens of metres” away from striking an oncoming car.

The officers in the following tactical vehicles reached the Micra first, shattered the driver’s side window and pulled the driver out. They handcuffed her a took her to hospital. Dut to the driver’s injuries Durham police contacted the SIU to investigate the crash.

Director Joseph Martino release his decision on the case on Sept. 22. He concluded the officer in the SUV did not commit any crime in pushing the Micra off the road way.

“I am satisfied that the [officer] was lawfully placed and in the execution of her duties when she took up the pursuit of the Nissan. By that time, the officer was aware via radio transmissions, including from a service helicopter monitoring the pursuit, of the [Micra driver’s] reckless and potentially criminal driving behaviour over a protracted period of time,” Martino wrote.

“The only real question surrounds the attempted rolling stop of the Nissan and the officer’s decision to bump the vehicle off the road. Both, no doubt, were filled with risk,” he continued, While the practice of bumping cars off the road is usually banned for officers there is an exemption for when the tactic is “necessary to immediately protect against death or serious injury.”

Given the oncoming car, Martino ruled the officer was right to strike the Micra and the officer will not be charged.

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