Category Archives: Vehicle Chases

Clayton Donnelly (38) Dies After Being Tased by RCMP in Malakwa, BC (Oct. 28, 2019)

A 38-year-old man, identified publicly as Clayton Donnelly, died within hours of being tased by RCMP during an arrest in Malakwa, British Columbia (near Sicamous in the Okanagan), on October 28, 2019.

Ron MacDonald of the Independent Investigations Office (IIO), the unit that examines cases of police harm to civilians in British Columbia, reports:

“There was a driver who had been involved with the police earlier in a couple of other attempts to stop they vehicle he was driving. There was an interaction between the individual and the police where there was a struggle between the police and the individual. During that struggle, the male went unconscious.”

The IIO reports that the victim went into medical distress during the arrest. He was taken to hospital in critical condition and later died there.

Clayton Donnelly’s step-mother Kelly Harrison took to social media to say that Donnelly struggled for years with his mental health. Incredibly she had to respond to police sycophants who blamed Donnelly for being killed.

In a Facebook post she addressed hateful comments posted online about Donnelly. She also pointed out the lack of support available to people suffering from mental health issues. In her words:

“For those who like to condemn and judge and leave nasty messages on Facebook, maybe think a bit how you feel if it was your own loved one.

“If I see one more comment, that he is a criminal and he deserved it I will scream. He is not a criminal he is a tortured soul, who was suffering from mental illness. This story is also about a wonderful family, that for over two years tried to get him help with success!”

It might be noted that police continue to receive increased funding even as necessary social services and supports are underfunded or subjected to budget cuts.


Police Pursuit Ends with Death of 36-Year-Old in New Tecumseth, Ontario (Sept. 16, 2019)

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, is investigating a fatal collision in New Tecumseth (north of Toronto) resulting from a police pursuit on September 16, 2019. According to the SIU, an Ontario Provincial Police officer was operating a police vehicle in the New Tecumseth area at about 11:40 PM. The officer allegedly observed a Pontiac and began to follow the vehicle. No reason has been given publicly for why the officer took note of the vehicle or decided to pursue it.

At some point the Pontiac became involved in a collision with a Volkswagen in the area of 20th Sideroad and 5th Line. Two women in the Volkswagen, the 23-year-old driver and a 36-year-old passenger, were taken to hospital where the passenger was later pronounced dead. A woman who was a passenger in the Pontiac was also taken to hospital with injuries.

The SIU has assigned two investigators and two forensic investigators to this case. At time of writing one subject officer has been designated.


RCMP Shoot and Kill Man in Truro, Nova Scotia (August 10, 2019)

An RCMP officer shot and killed a man in Truro, Nova Scotia, near Halifax, in the early morning of August 10, 2019. The Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in the province, is investigating. Police reports, that have not been independently confirmed, claim that the fatal event started when an officer spotted a car that had been reported stolen in Cumberland County at around 2:30 AM. Police claim that the vehicle hit the officer, and the officer shot at the driver. The driver was struck by police fire and died at the scene. There are no identified witnesses at this point, but a bystander claims to have heard on a police scanner that the event began with a police chase.


Woman Killed in Crash During Police Pursuits Near Red Deer, Alberta (July 31, 2019)

A 24-year-old woman was killed in a car crash following multiple pursuits by RCMP near Red Deer, Alberta on July 31, 2019. The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in the province, is investigating. According to ASIRT, police were called at about 12:35 PM in response to reports of gunshots in the town of Blackfalds, about 15 kilometers north of Red Deer. Locating a described vehicle, police allegedly made at least three attempts to pursue it before it was struck by a pickup truck eastbound on Highway 11. The truck driver was treated on the scene for minor injuries. The 24-year-old woman passenger in the Mustang was taken to Red Deer Regional Hospital, where she later died. The drive of the pursued vehicle, a 27-year-old man, was airlifted to a hospital in Edmonton, where he is in stable condition, according to ASIRT.


Peterborough Police Shoot and Kill Billy Shea (27) with OPP Present (July 23, 2019)

Officers of the Peterborough Police Service and the Peterborough County OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) were involved in the shooting and killing of 27-year-old Billy Shea on July 23, 2019. The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario, reports that the shooting occurred during a standoff.

The SIU reports that around 8:30 PM, police began to follow a vehicle on Highway 115 believed to have been used in alleged robberies. They claim that the police pursuit ended with the Mustang colliding with another vehicle in the area of The Parkway and Sir Sandford Fleming Drive in Peterborough. Peterborough Police Service and Peterborough County OPP officers then allegedly became involved in an armed standoff with occupants in the vehicle they had been pursuing.

The SIU says that at around 9:40 PM one officer discharged his firearm and struck the individual, later identified as Billy Shea, killing him. The victim was transported to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

According to the SIU, six investigators and three forensic investigators have been assigned to the case. At the time of posting, one subject officer from the Peterborough Police Service has been designated. In addition, five officers with Peterborough County OPP and seven officers with the Peterborough Police Service have been designated as witness officers.


Two Die Following Police Pursuit Near Ottawa (July 7, 2019)

Two people, a 36-year-old man and a 62-year-old woman have been killed in a six-car crash following a police pursuit on July 7, 2019 on Highway 417 near Ottawa. Officers of the Ottawa Police Service and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) had initiated pursuit of a vehicle driven by the 36-year-old victim.

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU, the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in Ontario) reports that the crash incident was initiated with a call from a man reporting that his daughter had been abused by a family friend at a Kanata hotel. This means the identity of the alleged suspect was known and under Ontario rules a police pursuit should not have been undertaken (where a suspect’s identity is known).

The SIU has designated one Ottawa police officer as the subject of its investigation, and also identified three other “witness officers,” two of whom are OPP officers. The agency assigned three investigators, two forensic specialists, and a collision reconstruction expert to its investigation team.

According to Ottawa defence lawyer Lawrence Greenspon, the main job for the SIU is to determine why the pursuit was launched given the identity of the suspect was known to police. While rules govern when a suspect should be pursued, Greenspon notes that too often those regulations are not followed. He outlines the too regular script followed by police:

“Every time there’s a crash like this it’s the same story: ‘We started the pursuit and it was stopped before the fatal collision took place.’ The big question here that needs to be answered is: Why were they chasing him in the first place? If they knew his identity, why start chasing him?” (quoted in Duffy, Yogaretnam, Gillis, and Miller 2019).

In Ottawa, the police service’s policy “requires that officers only engage in a pursuit if they believe a crime has been committed and if there’s no alternative for apprehending a suspect who poses a threat to public safety” (Duffy, Yogaretnam, Gillis, and Miller 2019).

 

Further Reading

Duffy, Andrew, Shaamini Yogaretnam, Megan Gillis, and Jacquie Miller. 2019. “Updated — Highway 417 Crash: Vehicle Pursuit Stemmed from Sexual Assault Investigation.” Ottawa Citizen July 9. https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/multi-vehicle-crash-closes-westbound-highway-417-at-panmure-road


Two Dead in Crash During Attempted Police Stop, Nanaimo (Jan. 14, 2019)

Two people are dead in a crash following an attempted vehicular stop by Nanaimo RCMP. The crash occurred on the Trans-Canada Highway near Duke Point on the morning of January 14, 2019. The Nanaimo RCMP officer tried to pull over a white pickup which then crashed into a red SUV. According to the Independent Investigations Office (IIO), the agency that examines cases of police harm in British Columbia, the RCMP turned on the marked patrol car’s lights and sirens in an attempt to pull over the truck at around 12:40 AM.

The BC Coroners Service has confirmed that two people are dead as a result of the crash. Their identities have not been released. It has been reported publicly that the two people killed were the lone male drivers of each vehicle. It has also been reported that the driver of the red SUV was in his fifties.

According to Ron MacDonald of the IIO, the investigation will attempt to address several questions:

“That will include, were lights and sirens engaged? How long were they engaged for if they were? [What were the] speeds involved, distance and time involved? Was the attempt to stop the vehicle terminated at some point? If so, when did that occur in relation to the collision?” (quoted in DeRosa 2019)

MacDonald has also said that it is too early to say with certainty where the officer tried to pull over the truck. According to MacDonald: “How far apart the officer was from the vehicle at the time of the collision is, of course, an important factor for us to consider” (DeRosa 2019).

Police officers are not compelled to provide statements to the IIO. This has been an issue in previous IIO investigations and led the agency to sue the Vancouver Police Department to gain some cooperation in an investigation.

MacDonald has already said that gaining crucial information in this case is “going to be difficult without witness testimony” (DeRosa 2019). No details have been provided regarding why the officer targeted the white truck or why there was an attempt to pull it over.

Further Reading
DeRosa, Katie. 2019. “Police Watchdog Probes Head-On Crash that Killed Two Near Duke Point.” Times Colonist January 14. https://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/police-watchdog-probes-head-on-crash-that-killed-two-near-duke-point-1.23598207