Saanich PD investigates crash involving RCMP cruiser

Mountie policy requires an external agency look at incidents that result in injury or death

Saanich police detectives are now in charge of a crash investigation involving a North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP cruiser.

A crash analyst, a forensic investigator and two major crimes detectives were at the collision site, south of Duncan, on Tuesday.

“Just given the gravity of the situation, the fact that it does involve a police vehicle and there were some injuries, and it is an external request, we’re treating it as a major incident and applying detective resources,” said Saanich police Sgt. Dean Jantzen.

“(This type of response) obviously isn’t typical for a crash that happens here in our community.”

The crash happened around 7 p.m. Sunday, when a woman made a left turn from the northbound lane of the Trans-Canada Highway at Miller Road. Her car collided with the southbound marked police vehicle.

Both drivers were taken to hospital. The police officer was later released, but the 23-year-old woman in the second car remained under observation as of Tuesday for showing concussion-like symptoms.

Jantzen said the investigation could take months to complete.

Saanich police were asked by North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP to investigate a crash involving an RCMP vehicle in June 2010, in which a 30-year-old Duncan woman died.

They were also asked to investigate an RCMP-involved shooting death in Surrey in March 2011.

An RCMP policy relating to police-involved incidents that result in injury or death requires that an external investigation be conducted by an outside police department.

Jantzen said these investigations are “cost recoverable,” meaning Saanich taxpayers are not on the hook for them.

– with files from Cowichan News Leader Pictorial

kslavin@saanichnews.com