The RNC initially requested the independent investigation because officers had interacted with the driver of a speeding vehicle in the moments leading up to the collision. That driver, and another person, was killed in the crash.
The investigation also looked into how a dash-cam video given to police at the scene ended up on social media. The video showed a black Kia Soul whizzing by at high speed just past the intersection of Cowan Avenue and Topsail Road.
The Kia Soul spotted in the video was involved in the collision about a block ahead at the intersection of Topsail Road and Hamlyn Avenue. The driver of the Kia Soul, Johnny Roberts, 26, was killed, along with 44-year-old Chad Pitcher, who was on his motorcycle, stopped at a red light. The six-vehicle crash also sent several others to hospital.
Shortly before the crash, the RNC officers had attempted to initiate a traffic safety stop on the KIA Soul on Topsail Road near McNamara Drive in Paradise, but indicated the driver refused to stop and continued to travel eastbound near Trails End Drive, at which point the officer disengaged efforts to stop the vehicle for safety reasons.
In a news release, SIRT-NL said it engaged the RCMP to conduct the independent investigation, with SIRT-NL oversight and review. SIRT-NL found the RCMP’s investigation was conducted properly, using best practices and that investigators took all investigative steps appropriate in the circumstances. There was no evidence of bias, tunnel vision or lack of objectivity on the part of the investigating agency.
SIRT-NL is a civilian led oversight agency. Once it is fully operational, SIRT-NL will conduct its own investigations into serious incidents. Serious incidents within this context are those involving serious injury, death, sexual offence, domestic violence or any matter of significant public interest arising from the actions of a police officer in Newfoundland and Labrador.