RCMP officers have been cleared of wrongdoing after deploying a spike belt that resulted in a fatal crash in the Shuswap.
B.C.’s Independent Investigations Office (IIO) was tasked with looking into the incident that occurred on May 20, 2021, east of Salmon Arm.
The incident saw an RCMP officer attempt to pull over a speeding Honda Civic, which fled the scene and the Mountie discontinued the attempt.
The officer radioed ahead and a roadblock was established at the east end of Bruhn Bridge close to Sicamous. Police at the roadblock laid a spike belt across the road.
On approaching the roadblock, the Honda did not slow down and swerved in an attempt to avoid the spike belt, but still lost two tires in the process.
The speeding vehicle then skidded out of control across the highway and rolled down an estimated 10-metre embankment into a gravel parking lot.
The male driver was seriously injured in the crash, and the female passenger was pronounced deceased at the scene.
A toxicology report stated the driver, who suffered brain trauma, a punctured lung, spinal injuries and an injury to his arm that required stitches, had tested positive for amphetamines and cannabis.
It was also later discovered that the vehicle was stolen and different licence plates had been installed.
The police watchdog collected statements from witnesses, dispatch records, police dash cam footage, a Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement inspection report, and reports from the Sicamous Fire Department, B.C. Emergency Health Services and a pathologist. They also reviewed medical evidence and the RCMP spike belt-use policies.
Upon reviewing the reports and evidence, the IIO stated that the officers were not found to be at fault in the incident, and no criminal charges will be forwarded to Crown counsel for consideration.