Police scanner audio details a fatal wrong-way crash on the freeway. 401

A police radio recording sheds new details on a wrong-way chase on Highway 401 moments before four people were killed in a multi-vehicle collision in Whitby.

The scanner audio comes from the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Traffic Safety Division communication channel. An officer is heard saying, “Someone is going to get hurt,” after observing a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction on Highway 401, which was due to authorities pursuing a suspect who allegedly fled a robbery at a liquor store.

The driver of a U-Haul truck crashed into another vehicle on the highway, killing four people, including the grandparents and their young grandson. The suspect was also killed.

“I just want to make sure the Durham sergeant knows they’re driving in the opposite direction. “Someone is going to get hurt,” the OPP officer is heard saying in the police scanner recording.

The audio also reveals details of the LCBO robbery in progress, with an OPP dispatcher alleging that the suspect was armed with a knife. She relays that there appeared to be a dozen Durham Regional Police cruisers chasing the suspect on Highway 401.

“He pulled a knife on the off-duty officer (and) left in a vehicle.”

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) was called in to investigate the incident as Durham Police were involved. The SIU investigates incidents involving officers where there is serious injury, death, allegations of sexual assault or discharge of a firearm by an officer at a person.

Questions arise over Durham Police highway chase of suspect

Ontario Community Safety and Policing Actwhich was introduced in April, states, in part, that an officer should not initiate a vehicle pursuit unless “the risk to public safety that may result from the pursuit is outweighed by the risk to public safety if a person in the fleeing motor vehicle is not immediately stopped.”

It also states that an official must first determine that alternatives cannot be easily implemented.

“During a vehicle pursuit, a police officer or Niagara Parks agent shall continually re-evaluate the public safety risk determination made under subsection two,” the law states.

The driver of a U-Haul truck crashed into another vehicle on Highway 401, killing four people, including the grandparents and their young grandson. The suspect, who allegedly attempted to rob an LCBO, also died.

Patrick G. Watson, assistant professor of criminology at the University of Toronto, says police officers are trained to use their best judgment.

“I really think this should be a case that has a thorough public hearing and public reaction,” Watson said. “So we can understand more clearly whether or not this fits within the balance of policing and whether the police are fulfilling their obligations to us.”

Durham Regional Police declined to comment, citing that the SIU led the case.

The crash closed Highway 401 between Lake Ridge Road/County Road 23 and Brock Street in the eastbound lanes for more than 12 hours, but it reopened shortly after 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.