Officer cleared in attempt to stop erratic driver before fatal collision in central Hamilton: SIU

Photograph of a crash scene on John Street South in Hamilton, Sept. 25, 2022. SIU

A Hamilton police officer has been cleared by Ontario’s police watchdog for an “interaction” with a suspect in a late September 2022 fatal collision in a Corktown neighbourhood.

In a Special Investigations Unit (SIU) report released Monday, director Joseph Martino said there were “no reasonable grounds” to believe the officer contributed to the crash in an attempt to stop an erratic driver on John Street South around 11 p.m. on Sept. 25.

According to Martino, the incident involved a pair of officers in a Hamilton Police Service van manoeuvring at an angle in an attempt to stop a Ford Escape they previously discovered drifting in and out of lanes on John.

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The suspect accelerated past the officers and through an intersection with a red light travelling north in the southbound lanes of John at upwards of 100 km/h approaching the Young Street intersection.

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A 38-year-old Hamilton man and a 57-year-old Toronto man died in a collision when the Escape hit a Hyundai Sonata on John just north of Young.

The driver of the sedan was sent to hospital with serious injuries.

The 20-year-old driver of the Escape then fled the scene.

The suspect was arrested the following day and charged with impaired operation causing death.

Martino ruled that the subject officer “comported himself with due care” and did not cause the collision.

The file has now been closed.

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