A Winnipeg police officer has been fined for careless driving after his car veered off an icy road and hit a fire hydrant. Andrew Stevenson, 27, pleaded guilty Wednesday to careless driving and received a $500 fine for a March 12, 2016 crash that happened around 3:20 a.m. in North Kildonan.
Stevenson, a 3.5-year member of the Winnipeg Police Service, was off-duty and driving his personal vehicle at the time. His passenger, another off-duty officer, was intoxicated at the time but “for all intents and purposes, Mr. Stevenson was stone-cold sober,” Crown attorney Grant Hughes told court, saying there were no allegations he had been drinking.
The road was icy and Stevenson wasn’t driving to the conditions, Hughes said. He was travelling about 55 km/h in a 50 km/h zone when the car veered, hit a fire hydrant, went off road for about 52 metres and ended up on someone’s property in the 400 block of Bonner Avenue. Hughes said Stevenson had blamed the crash on a person stepping in front of his car, who he avoided. The passenger received a minor cut on his head, and there was damage to the residential property as well as to the fire hydrant, court heard.
Hughes said one “not incredibly accurate” estimate showed the car was travelling 127 km/h for a few seconds at the time of the crash.
The incident came close to dangerous driving, Hughes said, but Stevenson pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of careless driving after both Crown and defence lawyers agreed on a fine recommendation in front of provincial court Judge Theodore Lismer.
Because the crash involved police officers, it fell under the scope of the province’s Independent Investigation Unit, but a conflict of interest within that unit prevented it from investigating. Instead, the Saskatchewan RCMP stepped in and did “a very thorough” investigation, Hughes said