SIU clears Guelph police in crash that followed a bank robbery

Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit has cleared Guelph police of any wrongdoing after a suspect was injured in a crash while trying to get away from a bank robbery in August 2017.

In its report released on Wednesday, the SIU said an 18-year-old man suffered a concussion, whiplash and lost a tooth when the Volkswagen Jetta he was in veered off the road and struck a pole.

On the morning of Aug. 3, 2017, three men were unsuccessful in trying to rob a Scotiabank at Clair Road and Gordon Street, but did rob an RBC minutes later before driving off in the white Jetta.

The SIU said that same car was then spotted by police on Gordon Street and within moments it had collided with a pole near Lowes Road.

“From the subject officer’s first sighting of the suspect vehicle, until his reporting that it had struck a pole, no more than 12 seconds had elapsed,” the SIU said.

The report added that the man who was hurt in the crash was in the back seat and wasn’t wearing his seat belt.

“The force of the collision with the raised curb was enough to lift the Jetta off the ground and force it to stop abruptly, in all likelihood propelling the complainant into the front seat headrest,” the SIU said.

The SIU said the man was bleeding severely and spent eight days in the hospital, while the other two suspects were quickly arrested and not hurt.

All three men were charged with a long list of charges.

In his findings, SIU director Tony Loparco said there is no connection between the actions of the officer who spotted the Jetta and the injuries to the suspect.

“It is clear that he was doing exactly as the law, and his duties, required him to do in these circumstances,” Loparco said.

“I wish to make note of the efficient and professional behaviour of the members of the Guelph Police Service in their concerted effort to apprehend the alleged bank robbers.”

He added their actions “should be a standard towards which all police services strive.”

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