Investigation ongoing for highway walker incident

A 55-year-old Dartmouth woman who had her arm fractured during her arrest is the subject of a current investigation by the Serious Incident Response Team.

By Alexandra Cooke

Highway 111, near where the incident took place. (Alexandra Cooke photo)

A woman who police say was jumping in front of cars on Highway 111 is in hospital.

The woman says police broke her arm when they were arresting her. Because of that charge, the Serious Incident Response Team has been called in.

Ron MacDonald, SIRT’s director, said that the woman, 55, was “behaving in an unusual manner that could be attributed to mental health,” although a specific cause for her behaviour is still being investigated.

On Monday, two Halifax Regional Police officers responded to complaints of a woman walking in the lanes of Highway 111. She was asked to move to the shoulder of the road and she complied. But the officers were called back later for the same reasons. They say, she refused to get off the road, she resisted arrest and attacked an officer, which resulted in the fracture.

SIRT gets involved in matters involving injuries or death during an interaction with a police officer. The investigation is underway and no further action has been taken against the officers. “My conclusion is that their actions were justified,” says MacDonald. “However, the outcome of the investigation will determine whether criminal charges will result.”

Police say, the injury was an accident and was caused while the officers were attempting to handcuff her. “She wouldn’t follow instruction, so she was put under arrest for her own safety and the safety of others, because she was walking out into traffic,” says Const. Dianne Woodworth. “That’s when she resisted arrest and assaulted one of the officers.”

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Diane Woodworth interview

Const. Dianne Woodworth explains the situation involving the woman’s arrest.

“The investigation with SIRT is still ongoing, but they’re not suspended; they’re still working,” says Woodworth. “It’s an ‘innocent until proven guilty’ kind of thing.”

The SIRT is looking for witnesses to the incident to help with the investigation. Anyone who may have witnessed this event at around 3:30 Monday afternoon should call the toll-free number at 1-855-450-2010.