|Const. Artem 'James' Otchakovski was fatally injured while responding to a non-emergency call at about 11 p.m. Monday. He was married with a three-year-old son. (QMI Agency/Peel Police)
TORONTO - For the first time in 25 years, Peel Regional Police is mourning the death of an officer killed in the line of duty.
A "family man" who had just joined the force two years ago, the unidentified officer died from injuries sustained after a two-car crash late Monday.
Peel officers spent most of Tuesday anxiously waiting for update on their critically injured colleague, who was involved in a horrific crash that ended with his cruiser wrapped around a light standard in Brampton.
Chief Mike Metcalf will speak about the fallen officer Wednesday morning at police headquarters in Brampton. Police remained tight-lipped last night about the name and the age of the officer.
The officer was driving through the intersection of Airport Rd. and Steeles Ave. E. shortly after 11 p.m. Monday when his cruiser collided with a Honda Accord and veered off into the pole, police said.
The badly hurt officer was rushed to a local hospital with severe head injuries and later transferred to the trauma centre at Sunnybrook hospital in Toronto.
"He was rushed to hospital with serious injuries," Const. J.P. Valade said, offering few details a day after the accident.
He said the officer was on-duty at the time of the crash and was driving a "fully marked police vehicle."
"He was not responding to a call, he was just out doing his regular patrol," Valade said of the 21 Division officer.
Police refused to comment at all initially on the circumstances of the collision and would not reveal the officer's name.
The other driver, a 22-year-old Brampton man, suffered only minor injuries, Valade said. He was treated and released from hospital.
Numerous sombre-looking officers spent the day waiting in Sunnybrook's intensive care unit for news.
Const. Wayne Patterson said officers spend a lot of time in their cruisers and that car accidents are just one of the many dangers of the job.
A police source said the officer was married with at least one child.
It has been almost 26 years since Peel has lost an officer on the job.
Since the Peel Regional Police Service was established in 1974, four officers have died in the line of duty before Monday's fatal crash. Three were killed in crashes and one, the most recent, was stabbed to death in August 1984.
-- With files from Don Peat