SIU clears OPP officer in Bonfield collision

Woman suffered fractured ribs in Dec. 22, 2017, crash

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Tony Loparco, director of the province’s Special Investigations Unit, has cleared the OPP officer involved in a Dec. 22, 2017, collision at Trout Pond Road and Highway 17 in Bonfield.

The driver of the second vehicle, a 25-year-old woman, suffered two fractured ribs. Her mother and sister, a child in a booster seat in the back of the vehicle, were examined at hospital and released.

The SIU says the collision occurred at 5:30 p.m., when the OPP Chevy Tahoe, travelling eastbound on Highway 17, collided with the complainant’s Buick LeSabre, which was turning left from Trout Pond Road to go west toward North Bay.

The officer was responding to a 911 call about a ditched vehicle in the area of Guay Road in Bonfield at the time.

At approximately 5:15 p.m., the officer was approaching the intersection with Trout Pond Road and pulled into the passing lane on a straight stretch of the highway to pass another motor vehicle, approximately half of a kilometre before the intersection.

The complainant was stopped on Trout Pond Road at the stop sign at Highway 17. She observed one vehicle in the curb lane and one in the passing lane, made a judgment call and pulled out onto Highway 17 to start her left turn, pulling out directly in front of the police vehicle.

The SIU says the officer indicated he initially swerved to the left (into the westbound lanes) and then to the right to try to get around the vehicle. He then braked hard to avoid a collision.

The OPP Chevy Tahoe ended up striking the driver door of the LeSabre, with the officer suffering a fracture to his left wrist.

“While I find that the driving of the officer may not have attained a level of perfection, I have no hesitation in finding that neither did it rise to the level of being criminal in nature,” Loparco concluded.

“The unfortunate collision in which both drivers were injured was not as a direct result of the driving of the officer, nor is there a causal connection between the actions of the officer and the consequent injuries sustained.

“As such, since I lack the necessary grounds for the laying of criminal charges, none shall issue.”