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SIU clears officer in death of elderly man

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Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has cleared an OPP officer in the death of an 81-year-old man.

The incident took place on Oct. 28 in Midland. According to the incident report, a Southern Georgian Bay OPP officer pulled over an elderly man for several traffic violations. As the officer returned to his cruiser, the man pulled away in his vehicle.

According to the report, the officer once again stopped the driver, who refused to turn off his ignition and then produced a revolver, threatening suicide. The report says the officer then stepped back from the vehicle, as the man returned the gun to the centre console and drove off.

The officer followed the vehicle closely a number of blocks, before the 81-year-old eventually drove off a boat launch and into Georgian Bay.

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The report says officers attempted to rescue him from the sinking vehicle, but were forced to return to shore because of cold and deep water. The OPP Underwater Search and Recovery Unit and fire department personnel then attended the scene. They were able to tow the van back to shore.

In the report, the man’s death was attributed to drowning.

“I am satisfied that the SO did not transgress the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law in connection with the circumstances surrounding the unfortunate death of the Complainant,” says Joseph Martino, Director of the SIU, in the report. “Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case, and the file is closed.”

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