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Man killed on Walterdale Bridge while fleeing police was impaired, driving 100 km/h: ASIRT

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An Edmonton police officer who drove 119 km/h in downtown Edmonton while chasing Cory Carifelle has been cleared of any wrongdoing in the fiery crash that killed the 33-year-old driver.

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) concluded its investigation Tuesday into the July 14, 2020, incident, which also injured Carifelle's passenger and a man driving a Ford Ranger.

The "moral and legal responsibility" for the injuries and the fatality lies with Carifelle himself, Assistant Executive Director Matthew Block wrote in a five-page decision.

"While the death…was both tragic and criminal, that criminality relates to the conduct of the (driver)," Block wrote.

ASIRT did not name the driver who died, the officer involved or the injured people, but Carifelle's family and friends confirmed his identity to CTV News Edmonton shortly after the crash.

Police first attempted to stop the black Honda Accord at 7:59 that night because the license plate did not match the vehicle.

When officers pulled up behind the Accord on 101 Street and Jasper Avenue and turned on their lights and siren, ASIRT said the driver ran a red light and sped southbound toward the Walterdale Bridge.

Officers chased the Accord, at one point hitting 119 km/h on Bellamy Hill Road, before a supervising officer told them to stop the chase about 30 seconds after it started.

GPS on the police cruiser showed the pursuing officer slowed to at least 11 km/h, or possibly stopped, after being directed to, ASIRT said. The officers slowed at 104 Street and 96 Avenue, which is about 600 metres from the bridge.

The suspect vehicle turned southbound onto the Walterdale, ASIRT concluded, travelling the wrong way on the northbound-only bridge.

What happened next was captured on the dashcam of a taxi.

'A FIRE STARTED'

"The cab’s video showed a Ford Ranger in the west lane, being driven normally. The (suspect driver) then collided with the Ford Ranger head on, causing both to spin on the bridge. A fire started in the Accord shortly after the collision," ASIRT wrote.

"The (pursuing officer) was able to remove the (suspect driver) from the burning Accord, and an off duty nurse who was at the collision began CPR on (him). Emergency medical services arrived shortly after that, but their efforts to save the (driver) were not successful."

The entire incident, from the attempted stop to the crash, lasted just 75 seconds, ASIRT said.

Police interviewed several witnesses on the bridge. Videos from the scene were taken by bystanders and shared with CTV News Edmonton.

An autopsy on Carifelle concluded he died of "blunt force injuries" from the crash and he had methamphetamine and alcohol in his body, the ASIRT document states.

The driver of the Ford Ranger was "bruised considerably" in the crash.

The passenger of the Accord had a broken hand, knee and rib.

He told police that he and Carifelle "had consumed 26 ounces of vodka between the two of them," was not wearing a seatbelt and was driving roughly 100 km/h before the crash, the ASIRT report states.

ASIRT concluded that the Accord driver's actions were "extremely dangerous" and that he risked "the lives of pedestrians and other drivers with his actions."

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