RCMP officers cleared in collision and arrest in Langford

RCMP officers cleared in collision and arrest in Langford
The aftermath of the crash in Langford on April 23, 2019.

Two RCMP officers have been cleared of wrongdoing by the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) following a crash and arrest in Langford in April.

On April 23, the two officers were dealing with an earlier crash at the Veterans Memorial Parkway (VMP) and Kelly Road intersection when they were notified by radio that two vehicles were speeding north on the Veterans Memorial Parkway, possibly street racing.

According to the IIO report, both officers turned their marked police vehicles back toward the intersection, intending to go in a direction where they could intercept the suspects. Both officers were parked east of the VMP.

One of the officers entered the insurrection against a red light, after pausing at the stop line, and turned southbound on the VMP. The officer had the emergency lights and sirens on.

About three seconds later, the second officer entered the intersection with her marked police car in the same manner and saw the two suspect vehicles speeding from the south. The traffic light for the VMP turned red and the light on Kelly Road turned green. The second officer, who was almost through the intersection, did a U-turn to get her car to face east.

The report says the suspect who was driving a Cadillac sped straight through the intersection, continuing north, past the second officer’s police vehicle. The other suspect’s vehicle, a Kia, did not.

Dashcam video from the second officer’s vehicle show that while the second officer’s vehicle was still turning in line with the northbound left-turn lane on the VMP, the Kia was attempting to turn right into the right turn lane.

The report says the officer was proceeding at a “very low speed, on a green light and with lights and siren activated” while turning.

According to the report, the suspect in the Kia struck the curb of the pedestrian island, lifting onto its two right wheels. While out of control, it then crossed the eastbound lanes and Kelly Road, and drove head-on into the front left corner of the cab of a large commercial eighteen-wheeler truck. The truck was facing west on Kelly Road and was stopped slightly east of the intersection.

The report says an event data recorder from the Kia showed that five seconds before the crash, the suspect was travelling 109 kilometres an hour. Immediately before hitting the truck and after an attempt to slow the corner, the driver’s speed was 46 km/h.

A graphic of the collision on April 23, 2019. (Independent Investigations Office of BC)

A graphic of the collision on April 23, 2019. (Independent Investigations Office of BC)

The driver of the commercial truck was not injured but the suspect of the Kia had a broken arm and three cervical spine fractures. He was initially helped out of the Kia and was sitting on the rear bumper of a civilian van.

The report says when an officer found a gun in the Kia, the suspect was taken to the ground and placed in handcuffs. The suspect did not provide the IIO with a statement but no witnesses described any excessive force by the officers who made the arrest.

A toxicology report showed the presence of amphetamines, meth, ketamine, norketamines, opiates, fentanyl and norfentanyl in the suspect’s blood.

IIO Chief Civilian Director Ronald MacDonald concluded that while both officers entered an intersection against a red light, the B.C. Motor Vehicle Act permits the driver of an emergency vehicle to proceed past a red traffic control signal if it follows the Emergency Vehicle Driving Regulation requirements. The regulation limits going against a red light to situations where the risk of harm is outweighed by the risk of harm from not doing so. It also requires the use of both emergency lights and sirens.

MacDonald wrote both officers were responding to a call to deal with drivers “who were clearly creating a significant risk to the public..” He also said both drivers were using emergency lights and sirens and video shows both officers used “considerable caution” when entering the intersection.

“Neither officer then, committed any offence by proceeding into the intersection against a red light,” MacDonald said in the report.

When looking at the second officer turning back within the intersection, MacDonald said she neither impeded the forward path of the Cadillac or the Kia. He also said she did not cause the Kia to crash or the suspect’s injuries.

“The only reasonable interpretation of the evidence is that the AP [affected person] approaching a red light at the intersection ahead and seeing the emergency lights of the police vehicles there, decided to make a high-speed evasive turn onto the cross street. That decision, and his failure to execute it successfully, caused the crash and the injuries,” MacDonald said.

MacDonald said there is no evidence to suggest any unjustified or excessive force by any officer during the suspect’s arrest following the discovery of the gun in the Kia.

Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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