B.C.'s police watchdog says RCMP not responsible for man's death in Kelowna car crash | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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B.C.'s police watchdog says RCMP not responsible for man's death in Kelowna car crash

October 23, 2020 - 1:59 PM

B.C.'s police watchdog has concluded the death of a man in a car crash in Kelowna earlier this year was not the result of police actions or inactions.

On June 1, at about 1:15 a.m., an individual called police to report signs of a collision, including vehicle debris and damaged roadside barriers at the edge of Highway 97 North in Kelowna, but did not see a vehicle, according to an Independent Investigations Office of B.C. media release.

Although the caller had initially stated the location was near University Way, the caller then corrected himself, indicating it was closer to the John Hindle Road off ramp.

An RCMP officer was sent to survey the scene but went to the intersection at University Way – as indicated by the dispatcher – instead of the John Hindle Road off-ramp, about 1.2 kilometres away, the report from the chief civilian director said. As there were no signs of a collision at University Way, the officer left. 

A bystander on the Okanagan Rail Trail found a rolled-over vehicle later that morning around 5:45 a.m. and called the police. The driver had been ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene, the report said.

CCTV footage showed the accident occurred at roughly 12:30 a.m. on Highway 97 North. The vehicle appeared to collide with an object on the side of the road, then moved out of the camera view towards the edge of the highway.

A post-mortem examination of the driver found that he would have likely died before the call to police was made, roughly 45 minutes after the accident.

In addition, independent investigators confirmed the vehicle could not be observed from the highway where it went off the road near the John Hindle Road off-ramp. The collision location error would have not changed the outcome of the incident, the director concluded.

The director determined the man's death was not the result of police actions or inaction and has concluded the investigation.

IIO B.C. is the independent civilian oversight agency of the police in British Columbia. It investigates all officer-related incidents that result in serious harm or death, whether or not there is any allegation of wrongdoing.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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