Police acted properly in deadly crash, fatality inquiry finds

A fatality report says a Calgary man is to blame for his own death and the death of his nephew in June of 2010.

Uncle and nephew's Jeep crashed into northeast Calgary house in 2010

A provincial judge says police acted properly in the case of a deadly Jeep crash three years ago. (CBC)

A fatality report says a Calgary man is to blame for his own death and the death of his nephew in June of 2010.

Byron Gray, 29, was in a Jeep Cherokee with his 18-year-old nephew Ryan Gray when an officer began following their vehicle, suspecting it had been stolen.

When the officer tried to pull the men over, Gray raced away at over 150 kilometres per hour along 12th Avenue N.E.

At that point the officer turned off his emergency lights and slowed down, following police policy.

A short time later the officer located the Jeep. It had gone out of control, hit a tree and crashed into a house, injuring a woman in a basement suite at 808 10th Street N.E.

Byron Gray died at the scene and Ryan Gray died several hours later at the Foothills Medical Centre, both from the multiple blunt-force injuries they received in the collision.

During the collision the Jeep had caught fire, which the police officer tried to keep from spreading to the passenger compartment while waiting for EMS crews to arrive to try to extricate the younger man, whom he suspected had suffered serious internal or spinal cord injuries.

Judge Mark Tyndale concluded in his report that the moment Gray decided to flee from the traffic stop, his fate and the fate of his nephew was sealed.

Tyndale also said the police officer involved in the incident complied with every aspect of pursuit policy and that his actions were commendable.

Noting that the police officer struggled to fight the fire with small fire extinguishers that ultimately ran dry, and that one proved inoperable, the judge recommended that Calgary police vehicles be equipped with either larger ones or more of them and that they be checked regularly.

Tyndale also recommended that when the family of the deceased is granted status at the fatality inquiry their lawyer fees should be paid by the government.

Family members had raised concerns during the inquiry that the process wasn't doing enough to help prevent future incidents.

Although such a recommendation falls outside the scope of Tyndale’s role, he said he believed the idea had merit.


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