Officer cleared in crash

A Kelowna RCMP officer was not responsible for driving into and seriously injuring a cyclist last spring, the Independent Investigations Office has found.

A report released today by the independent police oversight body found no wrongdoing on the part of the officer, who collided with a cyclist on Highway 97 near Cooper Road in the early morning hours of May 25.

About 3:30 a.m., the officer, referred to as SO in the report, was driving eastbound on the highway in his own vehicle after completing his shift.

Another person, referred to as CW1, was driving behind the officer, when the officer swerved to the left, and "something" flew off the right side of the officer's vehicle. CW1 pulled over and went to check on the person lying in the road. He said the officer told him: “He came out of nowhere.”

The man in the street, who had been riding a bicycle, was thrown 15 to 20 feet in the crash and suffered a broken leg and a concussion.

The highway was closed for several hours as police investigated the crash. The highway was reopened sometime before 10 a.m.

A paramedic who attended the scene told investigators she recognized the cyclist from earlier that night, when she saw him weaving in and out of traffic “in a very dangerous manner” at a busy intersection sometime after midnight. She said she had seen a driver slam on their brakes to avoid hitting him earlier.

Additionally, the cyclist told paramedics he had been using heroin earlier that night.

Ultimately, the IIO placed the responsibility for the crash on the cyclist.

“The evidence points to a careless act on the part of the (cyclist), perhaps contributed to by his use of heroin, in cycling out from a dark, shadowed area under the trees beside the six-lane highway, wearing dark clothing and without lights,” the report states.

“(The cyclist) rode directly into the path of SO who, on the evidence, was driving normally and reacted as quickly and appropriately as could be expected in the circumstances.”

The IIO investigates any incident in B.C. involving police that results in serious injury or death. 

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