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Victoria police officer cleared in fatal crash

A Victoria Police Department officer has been cleared of criminal wrongdoing in connection to a fatal, high-speed crash on Blanshard Street last year.

Darcy David Cole, 29, died when his vehicle slammed into a light standard at Blanshard Street and Cloverdale Avenue around 2:30 a.m. on June 15, 2013.

A VicPD patrol officer had tried to pull Cole over for speeding less than a minute before the crash, but the driver fled. Cole was travelling 162 km/h when he lost control, and his blood alcohol level was significantly above the legal limit.

In his March 28 report, Richard Rosenthal, director of the Independent Investigations Office of B.C., found the VicPD officer called off the high-speed chase and asked dispatch to notify Saanich police of the incident. The officer’s actions did not constitute any criminal wrongdoing, Rosenthal said.

GPS data from the officer’s patrol car show the officer hit speeds of 89 km/h during the chase. Four witness statements and police dispatch audio recordings were also reviewed during the independent investigation.

The officer’s claim that he stopped at cross streets during the chase were inconsistent with GPS data, but that false recollection was not enough to constitute wrongdoing, Rosenthal concluded.

“There is no evidence available to contradict the subject officer’s assertion that if he made a mistake about this detail, it was an honest one,” he said.

Two minutes later, the VicPD officer discovered the wreckage of Cole’s car in Saanich.

“There is no reason to believe that the subject officer acted outside the ‘standard care of a reasonably prudent’ driver, nor that he ‘departed from the accustomed sober behaviour of a reasonable driver,’” Rosenthal wrote.

The VicPD officer will now be subject to an administrative investigation to ensure his actions complied with police training and policies.

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