No police wrongdoing after man crashes stolen car from Whitby, Purolator truck in Toronto

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Published August 14, 2023 at 1:25 pm

Investigators have concluded there was no police wrongdoing after a man stole a car in Whitby and a Purolator truck, which he crashed in Toronto resulting in serious injuries.

The man allegedly stole the car on April 13. He was already under investigation for a series of similar car thefts across the GTA at the time. Durham Regional Police quickly learned of the theft and responded to the scenes.

Officers chased the man through town for a bit but had to break off. Sometime later, at 10:45 a.m. Toronto Police responded to a crash on Lawrence Ave. and Kennedy Rd. on the west side of Scarborough. Next, they received reports of another crash about 20 minutes northeast of the first on Nielsen Rd. and Finch Ave. Police swept the city for the man in both marked and unmarked cruisers.

At 11:50 a.m. police learned the man had abandoned the car from Whitby and highjacked a Purolator delivery truck on Parsell Square, about four kilometres south of the scene of the second crash. By this time, York Regional Police had responded with their helicopter Air2 to search for the truck.

The chopper located the man and tracked him for some time. During this time he drove recklessly through the city, striking several other cars including police cruisers. This did extensive damage to the truck. The front passenger side was ripped open and the hobbled the truck.

“It seems he was aware that he was being pursued by the police and was intent on doing whatever he could to evade apprehension,” the Special Investigations Unit later concluded.

The man brought the battered truck to a stop on the grass boulevard on Brimley Rd. north of Ellesmere Rd. about seven kilometres west of where he stole it. He left the truck through the torn open passenger side and sprinted across four lanes of traffic on Brimley Rd. He then hopped a fence into a townhouse complex.

A Toronto officer had caught up to the man and followed him into the complex. She pursued the man across the housing units until he came to a stop on top of a one-storey building overlooking Ellesmere Rd.

With the officer coming up behind him, the man jumped from the roof, rolled to land and took off running down Ellesmere. He crossed the road walking east on the south side on the road. The Air2 chopper kept an eye on the man and broadcast his location to other pursuing officers.

The first to find the man this time was a Durham officer in an unmarked pickup truck. The truck drove up behind the man and blocked off the sidewalk. Two York officers, also in a pickup, came in behind and pulled up on the sidewalk in front of the man.

The Durham officer got out of the truck and moved to arrest the man, who had raised his arms in the air. The Durham officer pushed the man into the York truck. One of the York cops got out and helped the Durham officer detain the man.

The York officer elbowed the man in the head and all three fell to the ground. The man continued to struggle and locked his arms so he couldn’t be handcuffed. The Durham officers kneed the man in the left shoulder and the York officer punched him in the back.

Another Durham officer arrived at this point and tasered the man as he struggled. His body locked up and the other officers were able to cuff him. After the arrest, police brought the man to a local hospital. He was diasgnosed with a fractured ankle, a gash on the left of his groin, and a possibly broken nose.

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), which investigated interactions with police resulting in injury, was soon informed of the arrest and dispatched a team. After an extensive investigation, SIU Director Joseph Martino concluded the police use of force was reasonable.

Martino said the man posed significant risk, “In addition to the predicate offences for which a search had been organized, involving a series of carjackings, the Complainant had just led the police on a prolonged pursuit in which he drove dangerously and collided with multiple vehicles.”

While the man appeared to surrender once boxed in Martino found the officers were right to take him down as soon as they could given his violent actions throughout the morning. Martino also concluded the strike and taser used to detain the man as he struggled were also reasonable.

As for the man’s injuries, “it remains unclear where and how precisely the Complainant incurred his injuries. Given the number of vehicle collisions he was involved in prior to his arrest, his exit over jagged metal from the passenger side of the Purolator truck, and his fall from a height onto Ellesmere Road, it is very likely that the laceration and broken foot occurred prior to his arrest,” Martino said.

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