Charges will not be recommended against an Abbotsford Police officer in relation to a 2021 attempted traffic stop that ended in a woman being seriously injured in a crash.
The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) of BC released its decision on the matter on Tuesday (Feb. 28).
According to the IIO documents, the officer attempted to stop a speeding Hyundai Tucson SUV near the intersection of Highway 11 and McCallum Road in Abbotsford on April 26, 2021, but the driver did not pull over.
Shortly afterwards, the female driver crashed the vehicle and was taken to hospital with serious injuries.
The IIO investigates all officer-related incidents that result in serious harm or death and can recommend charges to the BC Prosecution Service.
The IIO documents state that the driver, who had been consuming alcohol and “other substances,” had taken her father’s vehicle without permission.
She was driving east on Maclure Road at about 1:25 a.m. when the officer, who was stopped in his marked police vehicle facing north at Maclure and McCallum, saw the headlights of the Hyundai approaching at an “extremely high rate of speed.”
The officer also heard the vehicle’s tires squeal and the SUV was “fishtailing” as it came around the corner, the report states.
He estimated the speed of the Tucson to be “well over” 100 km/h. The officer activated his emergency lights and siren, but the driver did not pull over.
The driver of the SUV crashed into a utility pole while attempting to make a right turn at the intersection with Highway 11. The Hyundai was “torn in half” and the driver was ejected from the vehicle, the documents indicate.
The investigation later determined that the Tucson was travelling at 136 km/h five seconds before the crash – the posted speed limit is 50 km/h – and at 89 km/h at the time of the collision.
The report states that the officer followed the vehicle for about 30 seconds, briefly reaching a highest recorded speed of 150 km/h approximately 500 metres from the crash. About halfway to the crash, his vehicle was decelerating and came to a complete stop at the intersection, the documents indicate.
The IIO concluded that the officer’s actions did not play a part in the collision and that he was “acting in lawful execution of his duty in attempting to pull her over.”
“The data show that he accelerated over several hundred metres to a speed that was well in excess of the speed limit and then, having determined that the Tucson was failing to stop, he reduced his speed,” the report states.
The IIO said there was no evidence that the officer would have continued to follow the driver if she had not crashed.
The officer’s speeding was “justified and excused under provincial legislation,” the IIO concluded.
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