Cops cleared in Whitby motorcycle death PDF Print E-mail

The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ian Scott, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge a Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS) police officer with a criminal offence in relation to the death of a motorcycle passenger in Whitby in August of this year.

On Saturday August 28, 2010 at 12:30 a.m. the SIU was contacted by the DRPS. The DRPS reported that at 11:30 p.m. on August 27, 2010 one of their officers had seen a motorcycle travelling at a high-rate of speed westbound on Highway 401. The officer pulled up beside the motorcycle. The driver of the motorcycle accelerated away from the officer. Just east of the Lake Ridge Road overpass the officer discovered the body of a female on the road.

The SIU dispatched six investigators and two forensic investigators to the scene. One officer was designated as a subject officer and one officer was designated as a witness officer.

The SIU investigation determined that in the late evening of August 27, 2010 the subject officer was driving a fully marked police cruiser westbound on Highway 401in the Whitby area. Ahead of him, travelling at a high rate of speed westbound was a motorcycle with a driver and passenger. The officer pulled alongside the left side of the motorcycle just west of the Brock Street exit. The officer made eye contact with the motorcycle's driver and motioned at the driver, directing him to stop. The driver of the motorcycle made an abrupt motion to the left, entered the westbound paved centre median, and accelerated out of sight.

Unknown to the officer, the motorcycle's driver continued to accelerate and make a number of lane changes. During these maneuvers the passenger, 40-year-old Ioana Bocunescu, fell off the motorcycle and landed on the roadway. She was struck by a number of vehicles and fatally injured. The driver of the motorcycle did not stop. The subject officer came upon Ms. Bocunescu and called for assistance.

Director Scott noted, "The subject officer had the lawful authority to pull beside the driver of the motorcycle and signal to him pursuant to s. 216 of the Highway Traffic Act. The motorcycle driver was driving at an excessive rate of speed and the subject officer was in the lawful execution of his duties when he signalled the driver to pull over. The driver of the motorcycle chose to flee. There is no evidence to suggest that the subject officer entered into a suspect apprehension pursuit or had any physical contact with the motorcycle. Accordingly, there is no causal relationship between the actions of the subject officer and the tragic death of Ms. Bocunescu."

The SIU is an arm's length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault. Under the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU must

  • consider whether an officer has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation
  • depending on the evidence, lay a criminal charge against the officer if appropriate or close the file without any charges being laid
  • report the results of any investigations to the Attorney General.