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Fleeing police, driver hits spike belt and collides with oncoming vehicle

A spike belt laid on a rural Ontario highway by police to stop someone fleeing a RIDE check was hit by the suspect's car, which then veered into oncoming traffic and hit another vehicle, killing both drivers.

The accident happened on Sunday night on Highway 17 near Sturgeon Falls, Ont.

Angele Penasse, of Sturgeon Falls, Ont. and Ghislain Gareau, of Verner, Ont., both in their early 20s, are dead, according to family members.

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OPP and the Special Investigations Unit have yet to confirm their names or release any further information.

The Special Investigation Unit of the OPP has been called in to investigate the accident.

According to North Bay OPP, officers were conducting RIDE checks along Highway 17 just east of North Bay, when they stopped a vehicle carrying two male passengers. When they attempted to make an arrest, one of the two men took the car and fled the scene, and continued west along Highway 17.

To try to stop the car, West Nipissing Police Service deployed a spike belt on the highway just outside Sturgeon Falls, which is about 40 kilometres from North Bay. The car failed to stop and hit the eastbound vehicle.

The OPP alerted the Special Investigations Unit just after 9 p.m. on Sunday. The mandate of the unit is to conduct independent investigations into civilian deaths resulting from police actions.

According to a family friend, Ms. Penasse recently finished her college studies to become a personal support worker.

A memorial page was dedicated to Mr. Gareau on Facebook On Monday. One message reads, "He was such a special person that every one loved. We will miss you."

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