Special Investigations Unit investigating fatal collision in Arnprior, appealing for witnesses
Photo courtesty of Mike Yeas Ontario's Special Investigations Unit is looking into a fatal crash which occurred Monday afternoon on Daniel Street South in Arnprior. The driver of the pick-up truck was transported to Ottawa Hospital and Sheila Welsh of Arnprior, the female driver of one of the other cars involved in the collision, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit has been called to investigate the circumstances surrounding a multi-vehicle collision in Arnprior that resulted in the death of a 65-year-old woman.
According to a release issued by the SIU, preliminary information suggests that in the early afternoon hours of Sept. 25, the Ontario Provincial Police was notified of the theft of a vehicle from Eganville. The 20-year-old driver of the vehicle made his way to Arnprior, travelling on Highway 60 and then on Highway 17. At some point, OPP officers began to follow the vehicle. Sometime after 4 p.m., a vehicle was travelling northeast along Daniel Street South in Arnprior. At Daniel Street South and Edey Street, the vehicle collided with two other vehicles. The driver of the vehicle being investigated was rushed to hospital where he remains. He is from Eganville.
The driver of one of the vehicles that was struck – a 65-year-old woman – was pronounced dead at the scene of the collision. On Tuesday afternoon, the SIU released the name of the woman. The deceased is identified as Sheila Welsh of Arnprior. The third vehicle that was struck was unoccupied.
On Tuesday night, the Renfrew detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police issued a release stating the driver of the suspect vehicle, Zachary Wittke, 20, of Eganville is being held in custody pending a bail hearing on Sept, 29. He is facing several charges – dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death; flight while being pursued by police; driving while disqualified and theft of a motor vehicle over $5,000.
A criminal investigation is being conducted with members of the Renfrew OPP detachment under the direction of Major Case Manager, Detective Inspector Rob Hagerman of the Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB).
Five investigators, two forensic investigators and one collision reconstructionist have been assigned to this incident. A portion of Daniel Street South remained closed for more than 24 hours following the incident.
The SIU is appealing to anyone who might have witnessed this incident. It believes there were a number of witnesses to this incident and is urging anyone who may have witnessed the incident to contact the lead investigator at 1-800-787-8529. The unit is also asking anyone who may have any video evidence related to this incident to upload that video through the SIU website.
The SIU is an arm’s length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault. Under the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU must consider whether an officer has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation; depending on the evidence, lay a criminal charge against the officer if appropriate or close the file without any charges being laid and report the results of any investigations to the Attorney General.