From the Toronto Star Aug 20, 2009 04:30 AM
Queen’s Park Bureau Chief
A senior OPP officer has been charged with street racing after a police cruiser was clocked at 160 km/h in a 90 km/h zone, the Star has learned.
While acting Staff Sgt. Mike Pilon was pulled over on April 14, charges were not filed until Aug. 6 – and he still has not been served with a court summons, said Ontario Provincial Police Supt. Jeff Dupuis.
Dupuis said yesterday there appears to be a procedural snag in Cochrane, where the incident took place, which has led to the unusual delay.
"It’s never happened before," the superintendent said from North Bay.
"I’m not sure what the battle here is. If our guy is at fault, then he’s at fault and let the chips fall where they may."
Pilon’s Chevrolet Impala was pulled over four months ago on Highway 11 outside Cochrane, a remote community near Timmins that is about 700 kilometres north of Toronto.
Perhaps coincidentally, the charges were filed two weeks after OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino issued a July 20 edict imploring officers to drive safely because "the OPP’s image and reputation are adversely affected by the unacceptable actions of a few."
Fantino, who successfully pushed the provincial government to increase penalties for reckless driving, has clamped down on speeders. The commissioner’s crusade is credited with cutting speed-related deaths on Ontario highways by 42 per cent last year.
"He is not going to be happy about this," confided one source, noting Fantino has not been shy about reprimanding his own.
Even the elite OPP officers who guard Premier Dalton McGuinty are careful to obey the speed limit when ferrying him to and from events, which is one reason why he often runs late.
Under the new anti-racing laws, if Pilon is convicted he faces a fine of up to $10,000 or six months in jail, plus a licence suspension.
Last week, an undercover Durham Region police officer was charged with racing and had his unmarked car impounded after being accused by the OPP of driving 150 km/h on Highway 115 in Peterborough County.