Manitoba police watchdog clears officers after stolen truck crashes during RCMP chase

RCMP did nothing wrong when a stolen truck they were pursuing crashed into a ditch, injuring the man and woman inside, says Manitoba’s police watchdog.

The Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba announced Friday it had concluded its investigation into the incident, which happened near St. Francis Xavier on Nov. 14, 2019.

Mounties were called to a home near Highway 26, about 30 kilometres west of Winnipeg, at about 10:30 a.m., police previously reported.

The homeowners, who were out of town, were alerted by their security system that something had happened. They contacted police, and relatives who live nearby, to check the house for them.

According to a news release from last November, the relatives went to the house and saw two people loading stolen items into a truck and driving away. The family members followed the truck, directing police to its location.

When RCMP caught up, the truck’s driver tried to get away by driving into a farmer’s field. Instead, the truck crashed into the ditch embankment and blew a tire.

At that point, the people inside — a 27-year-old man and a 19-year-old woman — tried to run away, but were quickly caught and arrested.

Both suffered minor injuries in the crash and were taken to hospital to be examined. According to the IIU, the man claimed an officer shot at him, causing further injuries.

However, no evidence of that was found during the investigation, which involved reviewing officers’ notes, dispatch reports, audio recordings between RCMP members and telecoms, and a forensic identification report, along with photographs, medical reports, and interviews with two civilians and three RCMP members. 

“After a thorough investigation, the civilian director found no actions by any police officer caused or contributed to injuries to either suspect,” the IIU’s release stated.

Charges against the man and woman, which include breaking and entering, flight from police and possession of stolen property, remain before the courts.

The two, both from Winnipeg, also had outstanding warrants from other jurisdictions at the time of the incident. The truck they used had been reported stolen from the rural municipality of Springfield.