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Police actions couldn’t have prevented Island Highway fatality, IIO says

Erratic driving reported to police followed by Subaru going down embankment

The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) of BC has concluded an investigation into a Campbell River incident where one woman died.

At about 5:30 a.m. on July 31, 2023, police received a call regarding a grey Subaru Outback that was reportedly being driven erratically northbound on the Island Highway near Perkins Road.

Just before 6 a.m., police received a report that a vehicle had left the road in a forested area. When police arrived, a vehicle and its female driver were located down an embankment. The vehicle was determined to be the same grey Subaru from the earlier call.

The driver was subsequently pronounced deceased at the scene.

On behalf of the Chief Civilian Director, the IIO’s General Counsel has reviewed the evidence – including witness statements, vehicle data, and police information – and determined there are no reasonable grounds to believe that any officer committed an offence. The conclusion, published Oct. 20 by the IIO, is that, based on the available evidence, the police actions could not have prevented this tragic death.

The IIO investigation is now concluded.

The IIO investigated the case because police had received a call around half an hour before the collision reporting that the Subaru was reportedly being driven erratically, Rebecca Whalen IIO Media & Communications Liaison said. The fatality occurred after police had been contacted and in cases such as this, the IIO investigation seeks to determine if police action, or inaction, may have played any role in the collision and subsequent death.

The IIO is the independent civilian oversight agency of the police in British Columbia. It investigates all officer-related incidents that result in serious harm or death, whether or not there is any allegation of wrongdoing.