ASIRT Concludes CPS Investigation

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) was directed by the Director of Law Enforcement to investigate whether the actions of a Calgary Police Service (CPS) officer caused or contributed to a serious motor vehicle collision that occurred on December 11, 2014.

On December 11, 2014, at approximately 11:30 a.m., a stolen blue Nissan Frontier truck, occupied by the male driver and a female passenger, entered the intersection at 46th Street and 130th Avenue on a red light and collided with a small car occupied by two men. As a result of the force of the collision, the car collided with a third vehicle, occupied by two women. The two men in the small car were very seriously injured, while the two women sustained less serious injuries. The stolen truck sustained considerable damage and was rendered disabled, causing the driver and passenger to flee on foot. The driver was apprehended a short time later.

Just minutes earlier, a citizen had contacted CPS to report a possible impaired driver asleep or passed out in the driver’s seat of the suspect vehicle in the parking lot of a convenience store on the corner of Douglasdale Boulevard and 130th Avenue SW. The female in the passenger seat also appeared to be passed out. When the two people in the suspect vehicle woke up, they appeared to be dazed and “out of it”. As the suspect vehicle was being driven away it could be seen weaving in the lane as the citizen followed. A CPS member in a marked vehicle responded and located the vehicle stopped at a red light in the north curb lane on the west side of the Deerfoot Trail overpass. When the light changed and the suspect vehicle proceeded eastbound, the officer pulled his marked police vehicle in behind it. He initiated a vehicle stop, activating his emergency lights. The driver of the suspect vehicle failed to stop, continued eastbound on 130th Avenue at an estimated speed of approximately 40 to 50 km/hr, and was noted to be weaving within the lane. After 10-15 seconds, however, the suspect vehicle began accelerating away at a high rate of speed. It went through the red light at the 46th Street and 130th Avenue intersection at an estimated speed of 102 km/hr resulting in the collision.

Having carefully reviewed the investigation, ASIRT Executive Director Susan D. Hughson, Q.C. has concluded that the officer had the authority and requisite grounds to conduct a traffic stop based on the available information. Reliable eyewitness evidence, supported by data retrieved from the police vehicle, established that the officer operated the police vehicle at reasonable and responsible speeds during this event. The responsibility for the collision rests solely on the unlawful and unsafe actions of the driver of the stolen vehicle. On the whole of the evidence, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the officer’s conduct could constitute a criminal offence. Equally important, the evidence establishes that there was nothing the officer could have or should have done differently that might have prevented this terrible event.

ASIRT’s mandate is to effectively, independently, and objectively investigate incidents involving Alberta’s police that have resulted in serious injury or death to any person, as well as serious or sensitive allegations of police misconduct.