Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) cleared the actions of Calgary Police Service (CPS) officers after a driver they were following sped away and fatally crashed into two pedestrians in December 2020.
The driver, who had been speeding at about 200 km/hr and was found to have had a blood alcohol level about four times the legal limit, died days later in hospital.
“From a review of numerous sources of evidence, including civilian witnesses, video from both the CPS vehicle and body-worn cameras, and the CPS officers themselves, the CPS officers had no role in the tragic collision between the speeding vehicle and the two pedestrians,” said ASIRT.
ASIRT said in the early evening of Dec. 12, 2020, calls came into CPS about a speeding silver Acura heading west on 17 Avenue S.W. CPS officers tracked down the vehicle at 17 Avenue and 45 Street S.W., ASIRT said.
“The CPS officers turned onto 17 Avenue S.W. and followed the same direction of the speeding vehicle, though they did not travel at excessive speeds in order to catch up to the vehicle,” said ASIRT.
The officers pulled up behind the Acura at a red light at 69 Street S.W., and tried to pull it over but the driver sped away, ASIRT said.
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The officers did not chase after the vehicle, instead pulling over to communicate over their radio about the vehicle, ASIRT said, adding the officers then continued along 17 Avenue S.W., not speeding, without the vehicle in sight.
When the officers got to the intersection of 17 Avenue and 85 Street S.W. the officers saw other vehicles pulled over, and turned on their lights to take over what they realized was a collision scene, ASIRT said.
The Acura was resting on its side on an embankment that led towards a pond.
“On the ground near the vehicle were two deceased adults, a male and female who were engaged to be married and had been out for a walk that evening,” said ASIRT.
The officers performed medical assistance on the driver and he was taken to hospital, said ASIRT.
ASIRT said it found the officers incurred no blame for not pulling the Acura over or pursuing it, because doing so may have caused the driver to drive even faster and more erratically.
“Clearly if the Acura was willing to flee a traffic stop at such a rate of speed a pursuit by the CPS vehicle would not have caused the driver to stop prior to the collision.”
The watchdog added that there was proper and intelligent communication between the two officers, one of which was a junior officer receiving training.
“After examining all of the evidence in this investigation it is clear that the two CPS officers not only have no blame whatsoever for what occurred but their actions prior to the fatal collision should be commended,” said ASIRT.