SIU clears Niagara OPP officer after woman injured in crash at Niagara Falls off-ramp

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Published October 5, 2022 at 2:01 pm

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A Niagara OPP officer has been cleared by the Special Investigations Unit after a complaint from an injured passenger was levelled against her.

On June 6, the officer tried to stop a Lexus for speeding after clocking it at 133 km/h in a 100 km/h zone. The driver of the car briefly stop in the middle of the highway before being told to pull over onto a shoulder.

The driver then took off at a high speed, causing the officer to follow on a quick chase – less than a minute.

The driver veered towards the Thorold Stone Road off-ramp in Niagara Falls and then crashed into the field beside the road. He subsequently took off on foot into the field.

However, there were two women passengers in his car that the EMS quickly shuttled to the closest hospital. However, one of the women, a 24-year-old who suffered multiple rib and spine fractures, as well as a broken right arm, filed a complaint against the officer.

In the end, the Director of the Special Investigations Unit, Joseph Martino, said he found no reasonable grounds to believe that the officer committed a criminal offence in connection with the serious injuries suffered by the woman in a crash.

“The (officer) was in the lawful execution of her duties when, having detected the Lexus travelling well over the speed limit, she endeavoured to pull it over,” wrote Martino. “The driver had committed a speeding infraction and the officer was within her rights in attempting to enforce the traffic laws.”

“I am also unable to conclude that the (officer’s) decision to initiate a pursuit of the Lexus when it fled was unlawful. There was very little traffic on the roadway such that a brief pursuit was not likely to engage public safety considerations.”

Martino continued, “I am also satisfied that the(officer) comported herself with due care and regard for public safety during the course of pursuit. Though she had reached a speed at one point of almost 140 km/h, that speed was momentary and did not place at risk any motorists – there were none.”

“The officer also had her emergency lights on throughout the brief pursuit, and quickly discontinued the chase after about one kilometre and under a minute. By that time, it would appear the Lexus was well ahead of the cruiser and out of sight.”

Martino concluded, “There are no reasonable grounds to believe that the (officer) transgressed the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law. As such, there is no basis for proceeding with charges in this case. The file is closed.”

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