Police not to blame for death of feeling suspect

A Sundre man’s death after he lost control of a stolen vehicle while fleeing police in 2010 has been ruled accidental following a public fatality inquiry.

A Sundre man’s death after he lost control of a stolen vehicle while fleeing police in 2010 has been ruled accidental following a public fatality inquiry.

Christopher Michael Sisler, 33, died on April 13, 2010, at about 1 a.m., after he was involved in a single-vehicle rollover. Sisler was ejected from the vehicle and died from his injuries.

The public fatality inquiry was held Sept. 25, 2012, and the fatality inquiry report, released on Thursday, said Sisler fled at a high rate of speed and was not wearing a seatbelt when his vehicle crashed off Hwy 584 near Sundre.

A toxicology report showed Sisler had a blood alcohol level exceeding 200 mg of blood alcohol per 100 ml of blood (or .2, while the legal limit was 80 mg of blood alcohol per 100 ml of blood, or .08).

The fatality report said that when the police officer who located the stolen vehicle turned on his emergency lights and sirens, Sisler sped away and was almost immediately out of sight of the officer.

Thirty seconds after the officer declared a pursuit was in progress, he declared the pursuit terminated when he found evidence that the stolen vehicle had left the roadway.

The pursuit occurred at night on a paved highway over a short distance, including hills and turns.

The report said the pursuit of a fleeing vehicle is non-compliant with RCMP pursuit policy, which states that theft of a motor vehicle is a non-pursuable offence. But the use of emergency lights and siren to signal the presence of the police to the operator of a stolen vehicle is in compliance with duty.

The officer’s declaration of a pursuit in progress and termination was made when the vehicle was out of sight.

The inquiry determined that the non-compliance with policy was technical, minimal, momentary and not a contributing factor in the fatality.

A fatality inquiry is held to establish the cause, manner, time, place and circumstances of death.

No recommendations were made to prevent similar incidents.

Fatality inquiries do not include findings of legal responsibility.

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