IIO closes preliminary investigation in Vanderhoof

Posted May 6, 2013

INFORMATION BULLETIN
Independent Investigations Office (IIO)
For Immediate Release
May 6, 2013

SURREY – The IIO confirms that it will not proceed with an investigation into an incident that occurred on March 10, 2013, involving a motor vehicle collision and an officer from the Vanderhoof RCMP.

On March 10, 2013, at 6:53 a.m., the IIO was notified of an officer-involved incident that had taken place earlier that morning.  According to the RCMP, at approximately 4:20 a.m., an on duty officer had observed a vehicle operating in an unsafe manner near Burrard Ave. and 1st St. (Highway 16).

Shortly thereafter, the vehicle struck a utility pole.  The three passengers were injured.  Two were believed to have sustained serious injuries, including fractures.  As this appeared to be an officer-related incident that resulted in serious harm, the IIO asserted jurisdiction and deployed six investigative staff to the area.

During the course of the preliminary investigation, the IIO team was able to conduct numerous investigative activities that led to the determination that the incident was not related to an officer’s actions.  Information was obtained from the vehicle driver and other affected persons, civilian witnesses, the involved officer, data retrieved from the police vehicle and other video recordings.

In summary, an on-duty RCMP officer in a marked police vehicle was travelling northbound on Burrard Ave.  At 4:19 a.m., he passed a parking lot at a local convenience store and noted a “large cloud of dust”.  As the officer slowed, he observed a truck emerge from the dust and heard it accelerate as it turned southbound onto Burrard Ave.  The officer activated his emergency lights and turned around, proceeding southbound.

As the truck continued southbound toward 1st St. (Highway 16), it failed to stop at a red light and turned right onto 1st St. at a high rate of speed.  The officer momentarily lost sight of the truck until he reached the intersection and observed the truck, crashed into a utility pole.

According to interviews conducted with the driver and the other affected persons, they were not aware that the officer was following them until just prior to the crash.  As a result, while the collision did result in serious harm to the affected persons, it was deemed not officer-involved and jurisdiction was not sustained. The IIO file will be closed with no further action.

For more information related to cases under investigation by the IIO, see: http://iiobc.ca/cases/

Contact:
Owen Court Independent Investigations Office of BC
owen.court@iiobc.ca