The province's independent Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT) today released its report regarding an investigation into a November 27, 2016 motor vehicle crash on North West Arm Drive in Halifax, which followed a pursuit by a Halifax Regional Police (HRP) officer.
While monitoring traffic on Dunbrack Street, two HRP officers driving separate police vehicles saw a truck and car pass them in excess of the speed limit. Both officers pursued. The truck stopped right away, and the driver told the officer the car had just struck his vehicle and sped away.
The other officer attempted to stop the car. However, it continued onto North West Arm Drive at high speed. This officer noted the car had a flat front tire, and was striking the centre curb as it drove. He also learned about the previous collision with the truck. The pursuit covered 2.5 kilometres and lasted approximately one minute and twenty seconds. The officer’s average speed over that distance was approximately 114 km/h. The car’s GPS system showed that at one point he reached a speed of 138 km/h. A supervisor ordered the pursuit be terminated, and a few seconds later the car attempted to turn onto Osborne Drive. It missed the turn, crossed the roadway, and struck a light pole. The rear seat passenger suffered a broken collarbone and was taken to hospital.
In this case the officer’s driving was not at an excessive speed, was on a non-residential divided highway with two lanes in each direction, and was at a time of day when there was little traffic. His driving did not cause a danger to the public. It made sense for the officer to attempt to stop the car as it posed a danger to others. His actions were reasonable. The cause of the crash was the failure of the driver to stop for the officer as required by law and that he was driving at an excessive speed while apparently impaired by alcohol.
In these circumstances, there are no grounds to consider any charges against the police officer.
A complete copy of the report is available at http://sirt.novascotia.ca.
SIRT is responsible for investigating all serious incidents involving police in Nova Scotia. Investigations are under the direction and control of independent civilian director Ron MacDonald, who is solely responsible for decisions respecting the laying of any charge.