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Ontario’s police watchdog continues probe of high-speed pursuit involving fatal crash

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The investigation continues into a collision that killed two grandparents and their infant grandchild during a high-speed police chase on the wrong way of Highway 401 east of Toronto.

The Monday night crash – which also left the person in the suspect van dead – raised questions about the police pursuit that had been triggered by an alleged liquor store robbery, as Ontario’s police watchdog began its investigation into what happened.

Monica Hudon of Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit said Tuesday that officers initiated the chase after spotting a cargo van they believed had been involved in a liquor store robbery in Clarington, Ont. 

“It was a really big collision scene, and we’re still trying to get to the bottom of how many vehicles, how were they involved, where people were from,”  Hudon said at a news conference Tuesday.

“As part of the investigation, we are going to look into the pursuit. When it started, where it started, what transpired.”

The SIU said an off-duty police officer first reported an alleged robbery at an LCBO in Clarington around 7:50 p.m. Monday to Durham Region police. Officers then found a cargo van of interest and began pursuing it, the watchdog said.

Police continued their pursuit as the van got onto Highway 401 near Stevenson Road and began travelling west in eastbound lanes, Hudon said.

About 20 minutes after the chase began, there was a crash involving six vehicles, Hudon said.

“Three individuals from a civilian vehicle were pronounced deceased at the scene, and in that vehicle were a 60-year-old, a 55-year-old, and an infant,” Hudon said, adding that the infant was the grandchild of the adults killed.

She said another person was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 1, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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