A video showing a major crash that happened shortly after 12 a.m. on Saturday at the intersection of Douglas Street and Bay Street has become an important piece of evidence for the Independent Investigation Office of BC (IIO).
In the video a truck can be seen flying through the intersection after the light had turned red, and ramming into three other cars causing significant damage to all the vehicles involved.
The IIO has asserted its jurisdiction, under its mandate to investigate all officer-related incidents that result in serious harm or death, whether or not they involve any allegation of wrongdoing.
According to the Victoria Police Department, officers attempted to pull over a vehicle in the area of Gorge Road and Rock Bay Avenue.
“It is reported that the male driver did not stop for officers, but fled at a high rate of speed,” reads a release from the IIO.
The vehicle then collided with three other vehicles.
According to Chief Civilian Director Ron MacDonald of the IIO, all of the people involved will likely recover from their injuries, which he says is remarkable, considering the seriousness of the crash. When a person involved in a crash, such as this one, and the injuries meet the definition set out in the IIO statute, they get involved. In this case, it was a fractured ankle that required surgery that met the definition of a serious injury.
“Whenever a situation occurs where the actions or in-actions of an officer may have lead to serious harm or death of an individual we are required to investigate the situation to determine whether or not any police officer committed a criminal offence,” said MacDonald.
VicPD is currently conducting their own investigation concurrent to the IIO’s. They are responsible for pressing charges against the driver, which they have not yet done.
The biggest question the IIO wants to answer now is if the vehicle didn’t stop, what did the police do in response? “Did they continue to chase it, did they discontinue that pursuit — that type of thing,” said MacDonald. “Our focus is totally on the actions of the police.”
MacDonald could not comment on whether or not police were in pursuit of the truck at the time of the crash but could say in the video, which he emphasizes is only a piece of all the evidence, the crash occurs and there is some time before police arrive on scene.
According to MacDonald, the timeline on investigations such as these can range from several weeks to several months, although he estimates this investigation should be completed on the lower end of that scale.
The IIO will now gather and analyze evidence from GPS and radio transmissions from the police, any 911 calls along with witness statements and any other videos.
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