The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) of B.C. has concluded its investigation into the Kelowna RCMP’s involvement in a man’s death following a motor vehicle incident on Highway 97 North this summer.
The investigation concluded the man’s death was not caused by the Kelowna RCMP’s actions or inaction.
At around 1:15 a.m. on June 1, 2020, a member of the public reported signs of a collision, including vehicle debris and damaged road-side barriers at the edge of Highway 97 North. The caller said the location was near University Way, but corrected himself, saying the damaged barriers were close to the John Hindle Road off-ramp.
An officer went to the intersection of University Way as was first indicated but saw no vehicle or signs of a collision, leaving shortly after.
Later in the morning at around 5:35 a.m., a bystander on the Okanagan Rail Trail called the police to report a rolled over vehicle.
The male driver had been ejected from the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene.
CCTV footage from a business near the location of the damaged road barriers showed the collision happened at approximately 12:30 a.m. According to the police watchdog, the vehicle appeared to collide with an object on the side of the road, then moved out of the camera view towards the highway edge.
A post-mortem examination indicated extensive injuries that would’ve resulted in rapid death.
“As such, the man would likely have died well before the initial call to police was made, approximately 45 minutes after the collision,” the IIO said in a statement.
“In addition, IIO investigators confirmed that the resting location of the vehicle could not be observed from the highway where it went off the road near the John Hindle Road off-ramp.”
According to the police watchdog, even if the officer was given the correct location, it wouldn’t have changed the outcome.
The IIO is a civilian-led oversight agency that reviews all incidents of death or serious harm that may have been the result of a police officer’s actions.