Mountie won’t be charged in connection with Highway 7 crash

Injured motorcyclist described "complete chaos" prior to accident

An RCMP officer won’t face charges in connection with a motorcycle crash east of Deroche that left two people with injuries.

The crash of the motorcycle immediately followed an attempt by a member of the Ridge Meadows RCMP Detachment to pull over a  large group of motorcyclists west on Highway 7 on the afternoon of March 31, 2014, according to a report from the Independent Investigation Office (IIIO), which investigates incidents involving police officers that lead to injuries or death.

The IIO said that the officer was patrolling the highway “in relation to a group of motorcyclists involved in an event,” on the day in question.

The officer was following a group of 30 to 40 westbound riders when she saw the group “swarm” a vehicle and pass it on the right and left.

The actions led her to try and pull over the riders, but when she activated her lights and siren, vehicles travelling the other direction slowed and an eastbound motorcycle lost control. The male motorcylist and a female passenger “were dislodged from the motorcycle,” according to the report.

The motorcyclist sustained leg and shoulder fractures, while the passenger suffered “a minor abrasion injury.”

The IIO said there was “conflicting evidence concerning whether or not the officer’s vehicle was within her own lane of travel or straddling the centre line.” Evidence also differed on the nature of traffic before the motorcycle accident.

According to the officer, “it appeared that the operator of the oncoming motorcycle tried to go around a vehicle in front of him and pass into oncoming traffic, but had no place to go due to the large group of other motorcyclists on the highway travelling toward him.”

The injured motorcyclist described a scene of “complete chaos,” with oncoming motorcycles “ripping by” in his own lane. He described an evasive maneuver that saw his motorcycle hit the road and slide into a minivan in front.

The rider also described seeing what he thought was an unmarked police vehicle and tow truck prior to encountering the motorcycles. He believed they were setting up a police road block, and told investigators that the officer trying to pull over the bikers “was only one contributing factor to the collision.” The report said no such roadblock was being set up at the time.

The IIO decision released last week concluded there was “no substantial likelihood that the police officer would be convicted of any offence.”