CENTRE WELLINGTON – Police have now charged a Toronto man with dangerous and impaired driving in connection with a serious snowmobile crash almost a year ago near Belwood.
On Jan. 22 at about 2:45am, four Wellington County OPP officers were conducting a RIDE program on Sideroad 10 near Belwood Lake when a snowmobile was observed travelling across the lake at a high rate of speed.
“Officers attended the area to check on the well-being and sobriety of the snowmobile operators,” states a Dec. 21 press release from the OPP.
“However, one of the snowmobiles then left at a high rate of speed.”
According to a report from the province’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU), police momentarily pursued the snowmobile before being told to stop by a superior officer.
Less than 10 minutes later police came across the snowmobile in the ditch on the south side of Sideroad 10 next to a broken hydro pole, the SIU report states.
A call came in to emergency crews at about 3am for a “snowmobile accident” involving someone who was “VSA” (vital signs absent) near the intersection of Sideroad 10 and North Broadway in Belwood.
The driver, who had a “closed-head injury,” was taken to Groves Memorial Community Hospital and then airlifted to Hamilton General Hospital.
The SIU invoked its mandate following the incident because police were briefly trying to stop the snowmobile before it crashed into the hydro pole.
On May 20 SIU director Joseph Martino released his report on the incident, finding “no reasonable grounds” to charge the police officers involved.
“Though given every opportunity to adjust his driving after the cruiser had terminated pursuit, the [driver] continued at pace and crashed his snowmobile,” Martino concluded.
“He and he alone is responsible for the collision and his injuries.”
Michael Wadowski, 21, of Toronto, was charged on Dec. 13 with dangerous driving, impaired driving and driving with more than 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in his system.
He is to appear in Guelph court at a later date.