Durham officer cleared by SIU in road death

Durham officer cleared by SIU in road death

Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit has determined there are no grounds to charge a Durham Regional Police officer with a criminal offence following the death of a female motorcycle passenger near Whitby in late August.

The provincial agency was asked to review an Aug. 27 incident that took place on Highway 401, it said Friday in a news release.

A Durham officer had seen a motorcycle travelling at a high rate of speed while going west on Highway 401 late that evening.

“The officer pulled up beside the motorcycle. The driver of the motorcycle accelerated away from the officer,” the SIU wrote.

“Just east of the Lake Ridge Road overpass the officer discovered the body of a female on the road.”

The SIU, which is an arm’s-length agency responsible for investigating cases in which death or injury resulted from citizen-police contact, said it sent six investigators and two forensic specialists to the scene.

It determined the officer made eye contact with the motorcycle driver and directed him to stop.

“The driver of the motorcycle made an abrupt motion to the left, entered the westbound paved centre median, and accelerated out of sight,” the SIU said.

“Unknown to the officer, the motorcycle’s driver continued to accelerate and make a number of lane changes.”

At some point, Ioana Bocunescu, the 40-year-old passenger, fell off the motorcycle.

At least two vehicles struck her body. She died of her injuries.

The driver did not stop.

SIU director Ian Scott said the officer was acting within the law.

“There is no evidence to suggest that the subject officer entered into a suspect apprehension pursuit or had any physical contact with the motorcycle,” he wrote.

“Accordingly, there is no causal relationship between the actions of the subject officer and the tragic death of Ms. Bocunescu.”

The Ontario Provincial Police have charged Rashid Soujah, 37, of North York, with one count of manslaughter in connection with Bocunescu’s death.

No allegations have been proven against Soujah in a court of law.