Winnipeg police officer fined after causing 2023 crash by running red light

A Winnipeg officer has pleaded guilty to a traffic violation after causing a two-vehicle crash when he ran a red light in a police cruiser without making sure the intersection was clear.

Const. Landan Ramage was charged with failing to use a siren and failing to drive with due regard to safety under Manitoba’s Highway Traffic Act after the April 2023 collision that sent his police cruiser into the side of a building.

Ramage pleaded guilty to failing to drive with due regard to safety and was handed a jointly recommended $174 fine at a brief Winnipeg court appearance on April 26, while the other charge was stayed, court records show.

In accepting that joint recommendation, provincial court Judge Sandra Chapman said Ramage has been an officer for 12 years without any similar incidents and that the collision seemed out of character.

The crash happened as the police constable was following a vehicle that was driving erratically, which Ramage believed was posing a threat to public safety, defence lawyer Lisa Labossiere told Judge Chapman at the hearing. 

Court heard Ramage was driving a marked Winnipeg Police Service SUV with another constable in the passenger seat when he started tailing the other vehicle, which was driving recklessly and not following traffic signs.

Labossiere said Ramage was not chasing the vehicle in question but was “keeping a long eye on it.”

Police officers set down markers in an intersection at the scene of a crash. A police cruiser is in the background, its doors open, with the front end smashed into a building.
Police officers set down markers at Notre Dame Avenue and Donald Street after a crash involving a police cruiser on Sunday. (Riley Laychuk/CBC)

While surveillance video showed Ramage properly cleared each intersection before the one where the crash happened, when he got to Notre Dame Avenue and Donald Street he did not properly slow down to check for traffic before driving through the red light and ended up crashing into the front left side of a car coming from the other direction that had a green light.

“In all of the circumstances, [Ramage] is admitting that in that split second he absolutely was not having due regard for safety,” Labossiere said.

“He would never want to put anyone at risk, the public or even himself or his partner. He has a family and it’s his job everyday to make sure that he stays safe and gets home to his family. So this is certainly not something that he intended or wanted to happen.”

Police vehicle going 67 km/h at time of crash

Crown attorney Nick Reeves said crash data showed Ramage was going 81 km/h not long before the collision, but hit the brakes and steered to the left to try to avoid the crash one second before impact.

At the time of the crash, the police cruiser was travelling 67 km/h, and the car it hit was going 52 km/h. The posted speed limit was 50 km/h.

“At the end of the day, this is a traffic ticket,” Reeves said. “And I’m sure this isn’t lost on Const. Ramage that pursuits are inherently dangerous and unfortunately, you know, just that split second of absentmindedness can lead to a collision.”

Court heard the driver of the vehicle Ramage hit had a fracture to their right middle finger and a knee injury and was released from hospital without needing surgery. Ramage suffered a concussion and was away from work for a period of time afterward. 

“Certainly it’s not lost on Const. Ramage that the results of what occurred could have been worse. I think he’s certainly thankful that nobody was further injured,” defence lawyer Labossiere said.

Ramage was charged in October 2023 after an investigation by the Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba. The police watchdog looks into all serious incidents involving on- and off-duty officers in the province.