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SIU closes investigation into fatal crash near Palmerston

MISSISSAUGA - The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has reviewed the facts and closed the case around the February fatal crash of 22-year-old Katherine Mc­Nally, and serious in­juries sustained by 18-year-old Alexander Max­well.


Director of the SIU Ian Scott concluded there are no reasonable grounds to believe an OPP officer near the crash had committed a criminal offence.

The SIU, a civilian agency,  assigned five investigators and four forensic investigators to probe the circumstances of the crash. The investigation found that the following events took place on Feb. 11:

- In the early hours of that day, 25-year-old David King was driving southbound along Highway 23 from Harriston to Palmerston. That stretch of Highway 23 is a straight, two lane road in good repair with a posted 80km/hour speed limit.  The road was clear and dry at that time.

- As King was traveling south­bound, a marked cruiser driven by an OPP officer pass­ed him in the opposite dir­ec­tion. The officer could not see a rear license plate on King’s vehicle in his rear view mirror, and so he slowed down, ex­ecuted a U-turn and activated his emergency lights in an attempt to stop King’s vehicle.

- Almost immediately there­after, King’s Chevrolet Impala veered into the northbound lane and collided with a Mercury Sable being driven by McNally.  She died instantly as a result of the collision and her passenger, Maxwell, received serious but non-life threatening injuries. King was treated at the Palmer­ston Hospital and released the following day.

Scott said, “These events happened so quickly that it is unlikely that the subject offi­cer’s actions amounted to a sus­pect apprehension pursuit as defined by the Police Services Act. The officer was attempting to signal Mr. King’s vehicle to stop, but it is unclear whether he had actually entered into a pursuit before the Impala caus­ed this fatal collision.

“Accord­ing to the accident reconstruction report, the dis­tance between the U-turn of the subject officer’s cruiser and the point of impact between the Impala and the Sable was 800 metres. Assuming for the moment that the subject officer had entered into a pursuit, he had the lawful authority to do so under s. 3 of the same regulation in order to identify either the vehicle or the driver. 

“Be that as it may, any actions taken by the subject officer in relation to this inci­dent fall well below the thresh­old of criminal liability as defined by the Criminal Code.”

The SIU is an arm’s length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault.

Under the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU must  consider whether an officer has committed a criminal offence  in connection with the incident under investigation depending on the evidence, lay a criminal charge against the officer if appropriate, or close the file without any charges being laid report the results of any inves­tigations to the Attorney Gen­eral. 

The SIU names officers involved in its investigation only if charges are laid.


Vol 43 Issue 14


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