The head of Saskatchewan’s RCMP is defending the decision to not chase a stolen truck involved in a fatal collision last week.
Assistant commissioner Curtis Zablocki told a province-wide radio show that he wanted to extend condolences to the families of three Liberian-Canadian women killed Friday in the crash on Highway 16 near Lloydminster as they travelled from their homes in Edmonton.
RCMP officers had been following the truck, but were ordered to pull back about half an hour before the crash.
Zablocki said any pursuit is monitored by a senior officer in the command centre who has the final say on whether a chase continues.
He said the decision on whether to chase rests on the severity of the suspected offence and the level of danger to the public.
So, for instance, a situation involving a firearm or an abduction would warrant an elevated response, while a call of a stolen vehicle wouldn’t normally justify a pursuit.
Zablocki said those national rules come out of hard lessons learned in the wake of tragedies in years past.
“We have been in that situation in the past. Not necessarily in this division, or this province, but elsewhere in the country where we have been in pursuit and unfortunate and tragic circumstances have resulted,” he said.
“We sadly know that this was a real tragedy and our hearts do go out to the families of the victims, and the Liberian community in Edmonton and others who are grieving this terrible loss.”
Eva Tumbay, 37, Jeannette Wright, 53, and Glorious David, 35, died in the crash.
A fourth woman who is Wright’s niece, Janet Wright Gaye, 32, remains in hospital with serious injuries.
Police have said a 26-year-old man had been arrested and that charges were pending.
Zablocki said investigators were still working to determine exactly what happened Friday and he had no idea on when the suspect might be charged.
© 2017 The Canadian Press