OPP officer won't be charged in SUV chase that killed Grace Glofcheskie

The OPP officer who pursued Curtis Henri as he fled a RIDE check drove at a high rate of speed but will not be criminally charged, according to the province's Special Investigations Unit.

Glofcheskie died after she was hit by an SUV in Guelph in Dec. 2015

Grace Glofcheskie was killed Dec. 13, 2015. The Ontario Provincial Police officer who pursued the driver of the stolen SUV that struck her will not be criminally charged, the Special Investigations Unit has ruled. (Facebook)

An Ontario Provincial Police officer who was pursuing the SUV that struck and killed Grace Glofcheskie in Guelph in December 2015 will not face criminal charges.

The province's Special Investigations Unit announced Tuesday there are "no reasonable grounds" to charge the officer.

Curtis Henry pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing death in Glofcheskie's death in July 2016.

The SIU said it assigned seven investigators, two forensic investigators and one collision reconstructionist to the case.

Six civilians and six police officers were interviewed for the SIU investigation. The officer being investigated did not take part or provide a copy of his notes, which he is legally allowed to withhold.
Curtis Henri pleaded guilty to seven charges in July 2016, including criminal negligence causing death, leaving the scene of an accident, possession of a stolen vehicle, break and enter, breach of probation and two counts of theft of a motor vehicle. (Curtis Henri/Facebook)

Pursuit caught on security footage

The SIU said Henri approached a RIDE spot check in Guelph at Rose Street and Arthur Street North on Dec. 13 at 2:35 a.m. in a stolen SUV. Henri initially slowed down, then accelerated past the officer at the check, almost hitting him.

The officer then got into his cruiser and chased after Henri.

The stolen SUV traveled through Guelph's downtown on MacDonell Street – which would have been busy as people left bars – turning left on Woolwich Street and speeding in front of the city's River Run Centre, a theatre complex.

Footage taken from security footage showed some of the chase, and the SIU said the officer was "in close proximity to the vehicle being pursued" and had his emergency lights on.

When Henri drove into a five-way intersection at Woolwich Street and Norfolk Street, he veered to the right and lost control, colliding with the west curb.

"The vehicle mounted the west sidewalk and struck a utility pole just north of Charles Street at a speed between 116-125 km/h. The car flipped onto its roof and slid along the sidewalk and roadway," the SIU said Thursday.
Grace Glofcheskie, second from the left, with her University of Guelph golf coach Brandon McLeod. He remembered her as a “kind, warm, generous, thoughtful” person. (Facebook)

Glofcheskie 'kind, warm, generous'

Glofcheskie, 24, was walking home after seeing friends. She was on the sidewalk on the west side of the street and was hit by the SUV. She was rushed to hospital, but died from her injuries.

She grew up in Arnprior near Ottawa. In the days after her death, she was remembered by friends at the University of Guelph as someone who was always willing to help.

She was a member of the Gryphons golf team and her coach, Brandon McLeod, remembered her as a "kind, warm, generous, thoughtful" person.

"She just always said 'I'll do that," he said. "You don't find many young people that do as much as she did, that's for sure."

Her brother, Luke, said "there is no shortage of great things" his sister was known for.

"Grace did so many things in her life, touched so many people," he told CBC News in January 2016.
Grace Glofcheskie (right) is seen here with her brother Luke in an undated photo on Facebook. (Luke Glofcheskie/Facebook)

'Objectively dangerous' driving

The officer's driving was "objectively dangerous" and was in excess of 68 km/h over the posted speed limit at times, the SIU report said.

"However, the factual context does not allow me to conclude that the driving amounted to a marked departure from the standard of care that a reasonable person in the same situation as the officer would have exercised in the circumstances," SIU director Tony Loparco wrote in a release.

The early morning hour meant Woolwich Street was nearly empty, the SIU said. The majority of the pursuit took place in a commercial area "devoid of foot traffic at that time of day," the roads were dry and the pursuit was just 40 seconds.

It also appeared from footage that the officer was backing off his pursuit as he approached the five-way intersection.

The file is now closed, the SIU said.