B.C.’s police watchdog has cleared police of any wrongdoing after a head-on crash near Salmon Arm, B.C., left a woman in critical condition last month.
According to the Independent Investigations Office of BC, the collision happened along the Trans-Canada Highway in Tappen, near Sandy Point Road, on April 22 at 5:25 p.m.
But prior to that, Salmon Arm RCMP say they were called to a report of a possible domestic disturbance at a residence along the 700 block of Abbington Lane, with a second caller notifying police that a blue Pontiac Vibe may have been associated with the incident.
“While en route to the scene, responding officers observed a blue Pontiac Vibe travelling at a high rate of speed in the opposite direction along Highway 1,” said Salmon Arm RCMP shortly after the incident.
“The responding officers stopped, changed direction and, sometime later, they located the Vibe, east of Sandy Point Road, where it had been involved in a head-on collision with another vehicle.”
Police say the Pontiac Vibe driver, a woman, suffered critical injuries and was transported to hospital. The other driver suffered minor injuries.
The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) was called in to investigate if police actions contributed to the woman’s injuries.
“Video from the police vehicle confirms the Pontiac was being driven erratically and that the officers turned their vehicle around about half a minute later to follow the vehicle, but the Pontiac was already out of view,” The IIO said in a news release.
“The video shows that officers did not activate their emergency equipment to pursue the vehicle but continued to drive in the direction the Pontiac had gone.”
Independent witnesses who observed the crash further said that police were not in view when the collision occurred, nor was emergency equipment activated when they did arrive a short time later.
The IIO said the video evidence corroborates that, after the initial sighting, the Pontiac was never in the officer’s view until they arrived at the collision scene.
“The evidence clearly shows that the erratic driving began before the officers turned around and that they did not engage in a pursuit. Police therefore did not contribute to the subsequent collision,” the civilian oversight agency said.
The IIO investigation is now concluded.