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Pedestrian struck by Saint John police vehicle, independent watchdog investigates

The Saint John Police Force requested the SIRT investigation and is co-operating fully, according to a news release. (Roger Cosman/CBC - image credit)
The Saint John Police Force requested the SIRT investigation and is co-operating fully, according to a news release. (Roger Cosman/CBC - image credit)

The Serious Incident Response Team, known as SIRT, is investigating after a 54-year-old man was struck by a Saint John police vehicle early Friday morning.

The collision occurred shortly after 2 a.m., when a marked police vehicle being driven by a police officer was travelling westbound on City Road, according to a news release issued by the Saint John Police Force.

The man was taken to the hospital, where he remains with "serious injuries."

As a result of the injuries, in accordance with the Police Act, Saint John police contacted the Serious Incident Response Team, which has assumed responsibility for the investigation, said the team's interim director, Erin Nauss.

SIRT is responsible for investigating all matters that involve death, serious injury, sexual assault and intimate partner violence or other matters of a public interest that may have arisen from the actions of any police officer in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, she said.

Officer remains on active duty

Nauss could not immediately provide any more details about the incident, such as whether the man was walking on the road or shoulder, how fast the officer was driving, or the nature of the man's injuries.

"We're in the preliminary stages of the investigation, so I don't want to comment or make any speculation at this point," she said.

The officer involved will remain on active duty pending the investigation, according to police.

"The Saint John Police are fully co-operating with the Serious Incident Response Team."

City Road was closed to traffic for several hours while traffic reconstruction processed the scene. SIRT enlisted the assistance of the Kennebecasis Regional Police Force, said Nauss. "They would be under our direction for the purpose of this investigation," she said.

Nauss could not say how long the investigation will take. SIRT has a number of open investigations in New Brunswick.

"We obviously make best efforts to conclude our investigations as reasonably quickly as we can, but we also ensure a thorough and impartial investigation," she said.

Once the investigation is complete, the investigator submits a report to the civilian director, who has the sole authority to determine if charges should be laid.

If any charges are warranted, those are usually laid right away and a news release is issued, she said. A public report is usually issued within three months, she added.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the SIRT at 1-850-450-2010.