Alan McGilvery questions the safety procedures of Sidney/North Saanich in this July 7 crash. His wife’s vehicle (right) collided with an unmarked, then unoccupied RCMP cruiser (left). (Sidney/North Saanich RMCP/Twitter)

Sidney/North Saanich RCMP faces criticism after driver hits unmarked cruiser

Cpl. Carrie Harding defends handling of the collision

A Saanich Peninsula resident is questioning the safety procedures of Sidney/North Saanich RCMP following a collision earlier this month.

Alan McGilvery’s wife was one of the drivers involved in a collision involving multiple vehicles in the late morning hours of July 7.

Specifically, RCMP charged her with failure to stop or move over after she hit an unoccupied, unmarked RCMP cruiser that had stopped in the southbound passing lane while officers dealt with a single-vehicle collision in a northbound lane.

In the wake of the second crash, emergency crews transported at least two individuals — the driver of the northbound vehicle and McGilvery’s wife — to hospital for treatment.

McGilvery, who said he witnessed the scene minutes after the collision while on his way to Saanichton from Sidney, is thankful the officer involved was not hurt, emphasizing he is not picking on the fine work that police officers do. “They deserve our support and appreciation, no doubt,” he said. “I’m no accident reconstruction expert by any means; however, I do see some serious flaws in this accident.”

RELATED: RCMP cruiser damaged while responding to second of three Sidney crashes

McGilvery wondered why the officer had to leap over the concrete barrier to get to the other side. “Isn’t it more important to think of safety first?” he asked. “Should the officer leave their police vehicle in the passing lane … to attend something that’s already being well-addressed?”

He also wondered why the officer did not pull over to the right side of the road or take the nearby overpass to get to the other side of the highway.

“No safety procedures were in place,” he said. “No vest by the officer, no cones out, no indication that there was a reason to slow down, other than my spouse realizing last second, when confronted with a stationary vehicle while traveling the speed limit.”

Cpl. Carrie Harding of Sidney/North Saanich RCMP said the vehicle was fully equipped with upgraded emergency light system with LED lighting.

“All emergency lights were activated prior to the police vehicle stopping and the duration of the time it was stopped on the highway,” she said. “As well the amber directional lights were set, indicating to approaching vehicles to move over to the right lane.”

She noted that all other drivers slowed down and changed into the right lane, as recorded by the rear camera of the cruiser.

Harding said the vehicle suffered “significant damage” and is anticipated back in service within three weeks. “The absence of the police vehicle for three weeks will not impact operations or service to our communities,” she said.


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wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

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