According to the RCMP, at approximately 1:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 11, two Yarmouth County members of the RCMP were patrolling in West Pubnico in a marked police vehicle when they observed an ATV and motorbike on the side of Highway 335.
The RCMP say the officers observed headlights crossing the highway in front of them. As they continued the officers noticed an ATV and motorbike stopped in a driveway. The police turned their vehicle and activated their emergency equipment to investigate the legality of the operation of the ATV and motorbike. According to the RCMP the vehicles began to drive away but then crashed into one another.
Both riders were thrown from their vehicles.
The police officers quickly provided assistance and EHS attended at the scene and transported the two people to hospital. At the time the RCMP did not know the extent of the injuries.
The following day the RCMP received information that both drivers were still in hospital. As a result, the RCMP contacted SiRT to report the incident as it may have involved serious injuries.
In a media release issued June 15, SiRT states that it confirmed that one driver appeared to have suffered internal bleeding and was transferred to hospital in Halifax. The other driver suffered skull fractures and remained in hospital in Yarmouth. Because of these serious injuries, on June 13 SiRT had assumed responsibility for the investigation into the crash.
Investigations through SiRT are carried out under the direction and control of independent civilian director Ron MacDonald.
MacDonald says in this case there was no complaint made to SiRT prior to it picking up the investigation, and he wasn’t aware of any complaint made to the RCMP. However, given the severity of the injuries it was decided a SiRT investigation should occur.
“Under the legislation, when the police become aware of a situation that may have arisen from the actions of an officer, they’re obligated to report that back to us and if we find that it meets our mandate, we have to investigate,” MacDonald said.
He said the ages of those involved in the crash are 21 and 31 years.
“Here we had a situation where the police attempted to engage with the subjects by turning on their emergency equipment, subsequently there’s an injury, we are involved because of the seriousness of the injury,” MacDonald further explained. “We do an investigation, whether or not there is any allegation of wrongdoing, in order to assure the public knows the true facts of what did occur that evening.”
MacDonald said they have been taking steps to interview as many people as they can – which would also include those involved in the crash. He noted that with the incident having occurred at 1:30 a.m. it has limited the number of witnesses.
Two officers will also be interviewed as part of the investigation – one witness officer and one subject officer, said MacDonald.
Medical records and forensic evidence will also be part of the investigation.
The RCMP, meanwhile, say that with the matter now being investigated by SiRT, they are unable to discuss further details about the incident.