SIU clears OPP officer in Kemptville man’s death

SIU clears OPP officer in Kemptville man’s death

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An Ontario provincial police officer was cleared of the charges after the motorist he was trying to stop died in a collision with a water column pole earlier this year.

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According to Ontario Police Supervision, there is no reason to believe an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer committed a crime in connection with the death of a 28-year-old man in Kemptville over the summer.

In a new report, the province’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) says an officer was conducting speed cameras on Highway 416 in Kemptville on Aug. 16, 2022, when a man in a gray Chevrolet Cobalt sped by at 100 mph.

The officer began following the vehicle, at times accelerating to over 125 mph and attempting to catch up, the report said.

The officer was “never near the Chevrolet” but spotted it as the vehicle approached the Dilworth Road exit, about three and a half miles from where it had joined the freeway.

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The officer took the same exit as the Chevrolet, which was approaching Dilworth Road and about to turn left. According to the report, the vehicles were about a hundred meters apart at the time.

Once on Dilworth Road, the officer could see the vehicle’s taillights before they “disappeared over the crest of the carriageway”.

Shortly thereafter, the officer saw an unidentified vehicle pull up onto the shoulder of Dilworth Road with its hazard warning lights on. The officer began to approach this vehicle, but shortly thereafter saw a “flash of light” in the distance, followed by a second flash two seconds later.

The report concludes that the driver of the Chevrolet “did not stop at the intersection of Dilworth Road and Fourth Line Road,” lost control of the vehicle, and crashed into a water pole.

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The police officer was reportedly “far away” from the Chevrolet at the time – about 300 meters – when the collision occurred.

The officer “then drove his police vehicle to the shoulder of Dilworth Road” and asked a sergeant for permission to continue following the vehicle, the report said.

He then continued down Dilworth Road and crossed the intersection with Fourth Line Road, where he spotted the Chevrolet in the ditch.

According to a forensic report, the vehicle was traveling at 131 km/h a second before impact. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Upon encountering the collision, the police officer radioed an ambulance, fire department and other officials, the report adds.

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Joseph Martino, director of the SIU, said in the report he was “satisfied that the officer’s conduct, though sometimes dangerous given his speed,” did not constitute a crime or contribute to the man’s death.

The officer was “within his rights” when he decided to initiate pursuit of the speeding vehicle, he continued, adding the driver was “clearly a hazard in the lane”.

The officer’s 125 mph speed and his failure to activate his emergency lights and siren “for much, if not all of the time” also posed a hazard on the road, Martino said, but the director said the officer’s actions Officials were justified and “expected”.

Police officers are allowed to speed when enforcing the law, he added.

Martino concluded that there was no evidence that the officer’s behavior – particularly his speed – “played any real role in the collision” other than perhaps “to set the stage for[the driver’s]continued speed”.

The police officer was 300 meters behind the Chevrolet when it crashed, he added, saying it was questionable whether the driver was even aware of the officer’s presence.

The SIU, the provincial police agency, is called in when an interaction with police results in “death, serious injury, sexual assault, or the firing of a gun at an individual.”

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