Police watchdog seeking witnesses to cruiser crash that injured 6
General patrol unit vehicle, driving at 'high rate of speed,' was responding to 'suspicious male'
The agency in charge of overseeing police in Manitoba has put out a call seeking witnesses to a cruiser crash that sent six people to hospital on Saturday.
The police vehicle was travelling west on Aberdeen Avenue "at a high rate of speed" when it hit another vehicle heading north on Salter Street, the Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba said in a statement Monday. Paramedics took all four occupants of the other vehicle and two police officers to hospital, where they were treated and released.
"Although there were no serious injuries, the civilian director has determined it is in the public interest for the IIU to investigate," said a press release from the police watchdog agency.
Security camera footage viewed by CBC shows a police vehicle taking a left turn off Salter Street seconds before another marked car appears to drive through a stop sign and collide with a minivan while travelling northeast down Aberdeen Avenue in the North End.
Around 7:20 p.m. on July 13, a general patrol unit vehicle was in the area looking for a "suspicious male," said Const. Rob Carver, spokesperson for Winnipeg Police Service.
The second general patrol unit was coming to help, heading west on Aberdeen when it crossed Salter and hit the van.
Forensic investigators shut down the intersection for several hours after the crash. At some point, police notified the IIU, although Carver couldn't say exactly how long after the crash.
"We have to have enough information that we know it's accurate," he said.
Carver also couldn't comment on how fast the police cruiser may have been going before hitting the van, saying that is something the police watchdog will look at.
"This would be looked at to see whether or not there is some sort of culpability that could move into the criminal realm."
Although emergency vehicles are permitted to disregard some elements of the Highway Traffic Act when responding to emergency situations, public safety must always remain top of mind, said Carver.
Anyone who saw the crash or has video footage of it can call the Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba at 1-844-667-6060.
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With files from James Turner, Nelly Gonzalez and Dana Hatherly