An investigation into an incident in which a driver wound up unconscious in a ditch along Highway 10 after being approached by a police officer has recommended that no charges be laid.
An Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba (IIU) probe was launched July 24 following the incident.
The IIU says a member of the Cranberry Portage RCMP noticed a vehicle that had been idling for awhile at a junction of two roads with its high beams on in the early morning hours of July 22. When the officer pulled up beside the vehicle and turned on her flashing lights, the 19-year-old female driver in the idling vehicle sped away north on Highway 10. The police officer lost sight of the vehicle for awhile but caught up with it, off the road in a water-filled ditch, soon afterwards. The driver was unconscious and was transported to Flin Flon General Hospital and then to Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg for treatment.
IIU civilian director Zane Tessler said that there was no evidence that the officer contributed to the woman driving into the ditch and that the mandate of the IIU to investigate was tenuous at best, since the contact between the parties was limited to the RCMP officer pulling alongside the woman’s car. He also said there was no evidence about what caused the driver to go off the road and that doctors could not determine if she suffered a head injury as a result of the accident or if she had suffered a neurological event before going off the road.
The full IIU report on the incident is not being released yet because the driver is facing criminal charges relating to this incident.
The IIU has jurisdiction over serious incidents involving on- and off-duty police officers in Manitoba.