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SIU says Peel police failed to notify it of crash involving officer

Peel Regional Police car.

Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

Ontario's police watchdog says there are no grounds to believe an officer committed a crime in a crash that left an eight-year-old boy injured.

But the Special Investigations Unit says Peel police acted inappropriately by not informing the agency of the Aug. 12th incident in Mississauga.

The SIU says the officer was driving on Erin Mills Parkway at about 9 p.m. that night and had a green light as he neared an intersection and sped up.

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At the same time, another driver began turning at the intersection and the cruiser hit the passenger side of the car, where the boy was seated.

The impact caused the car to spin 360 degrees before coming to rest and firefighters had to cut the car apart to remove the boy.

He suffered a broken collar bone, bruised lung and facial cuts while the driver of the car sustained neck whiplash, bruises and a chipped tooth.

Three investigators were assigned to the case and the subject officer, as is his legal right, declined to be interviewed and did not supply his duty notes.

SIU director Ian Scott says the accident reconstruction report suggested the officer was travelling almost 30 kilometres an hour over the speed limit as he entered the intersection.

He was not responding to a dispatched call for service and had not activated his emergency equipment, Mr. Scott said.

But while the speed was excessive, "there were no other classic indicators of dangerous driving such as erratic driving, or distractions such as cellphone use, nor suggestions of alcohol or drug impairment," Mr. Scott said.

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"As a result, I cannot form reasonable grounds that the subject officer committed a criminal offence in relation to this serious motor vehicle collision."

Mr. Scott said the Special Investigations Unit was not notified about the accident by Peel police and only found out about it three days later when a newspaper reporter contacted the agency.

The SIU liaison officer with Peel police told the agency "he was of the view that there was no criminality involved on the part of the officer and for that reason did not notify the unit," Mr. Scott said.

The lack of notification was inappropriate and may have affected the adequacy of the investigation, said Mr. Scott.

"The collision was significant and the injuries sustained by the eight-year-old boy were of a serious nature," he said.

"When an officer is involved in an incident of serious injury or death, it is not for the police service to predetermine the issue of criminality – that is the function of the SIU."

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Mr. Scott said he has asked the chief of Peel police to address the issue with his staff to ensure the agency is immediately notified of all incidents involving officers where serious injuries or death has occurred.

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