Yet another Surrey RCMP traffic crash.
A 72-year-old Surrey man who was injured in a South Surrey crash involving a police car on Dec. 27 has since died, the BC Coroners Service revealed Tuesday.
Donald Allan Murray died in Peace Arch Hospital on New Year's Eve of injuries sustained after his sedan and an unmarked RCMP car crashed at the intersection of 56th Avenue and 184th Street.
The BC Coroners Service is investigating the circumstances of Murray's death, as are RCMP Traffic Services and the Surrey-based Independent Investigations Office, which examines police incidents involving serious harm or death.
According to the IIO, which took jurisdiction of the investigation on Dec. 31, its investigators have received "full co-operation" from Surrey RCMP.
This was the latest in a string of automobile crashes involving Surrey Mounties. Chief Supt. Bill Fordy, who took over control of Surrey RCMP last June, said the frequency of crashes involving police is "100 per cent" on his radar and he is taking steps to address the situation.
"It concerns me. It concerns everybody in the detachment," he said. "We're looking at training opportunities and initiatives."
"The very nature of police work is such that our police officers are driving at all hours of the day and night, in every possible kind of weather condition," Fordy said.
"Dynamic response to events in progress are an expectation of the public and authorized under provincial legislation.
"I am very concerned whenever our members or a member of the public is injured in a police car accident," Fordy said. "The impact of a police car accident is that they don't arrive at a call for service, our police officers or members of the public are sometimes hurt or injured, and it is a drain on our material resources.
The senior managers here at the detachment have been engaged in a series of discussions with the police officers working the streets relative to the matter."
On New Years Day, a Surrey RCMP constable was badly injured when his patrol car crashed into a lamppost at 144th Street and 72nd Avenue in Newton while he was responding to a call about a large fight involving weapons. He apparently swerved to avoid hitting another car.
In November, Surrey Mountie Adrian Oliver was killed when his patrol car smashed head-on into a semi in Newton. An investigation revealed he'd been speeding without his emergency lights on.
In October, the BC Coroners Service announced it will hold an inquest into the death of a Surrey teenager hit by a Surrey RCMP patrol car while she was crossing King George Boulevard in January 2011.
In September, a general-duty constable was responding to a call about a fight in Whalley when her patrol car T-boned another car at 108th Avenue and City Parkway.
In April, a Surrey RCMP unmarked car sideswiped a Jeep in the 15600block of 64th Avenue as the plainclothes constable was responding to a car theft in progress. Police said at the time that the officer had his sirens and lights going as he headed down the centre lane of 64th Avenue. When he hit the Jeep, both vehicles spun off the road.
Also in April, an officer with the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit was charged with impaired driving. Her Mazda crashed on Highway 1 near Surrey's 160th Street overpass in January. Police said she was off duty at the time.
In March, a Surrey RCMP patrol car crashed into the Robin Hood Pub on 72nd Avenue in Newton and in January 2012 a Surrey RCMP patrol car swerved to miss a van, spun out and smashed into a post as the constable was on his way to investigate a burglary alarm.
"There is a very robust protocol in place in Surrey that examines all of the circumstances of every police car accident and mandates that, where appropriate, remedial action, including additional training for the involved member, is provided," Fordy said. "My position or view is that in cases where the police officer is deemed to have been in violation of regulations, the appropriate charges are recommended."
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