The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) is probing the death of a teen who jumped over a retaining wall into the Niagara Gorge on Tuesday night while being chased by a police officer.
The Niagara Regional officer, identified as Const.Jacob Smits, also jumped over the wall, apparently not realizing that there was no ledge.
He was airlifted to Hamilton General Hospital where he underwent surgery for a shattered leg.
Ryan Allers was on hand when the officer was pulled out of the gorge by rescuers.
“His leg was mangled, absolutely pulverized, his wife was there crying, it was really saddening,” he said.
“He kept saying, ‘I thought there was a ledge there, I was sure there was a ledge there.’ “
The teen’s body was in the gorge for several hours before being recovered.
Witnesses identified him as Ryan Dube, 18, and say he lived at a nearby shelter where he got into a fight with another resident, allegedly stabbing him. That led to the ill-fated police chase.
A man who only gave the first name Logan told CityNews he watched as the suspect jumped over the wall, with the officer following suit.
“As soon as he went over, the cop went with him, and I knew that was going to end bad,” he said.
The Niagara Falls Fire Department, Parks Police and Niagara Regional Police were all involved in the rescue.
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.