New Charges for Officer Involved in Fatal Hit & Run – Tessler

WPS Crime Scene Investigator (Photo JGJ)

The Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba announced further charges today against a Winnipeg Police Officer charged in connection with a fatal traffic accident.

Constable Justin Holz (34) was previously charged with Impaired Driving Causing Death and Failure to Stop at the Scene of an Accident Involving Death in connection with his alleged involvement in a fatal hit and run motor vehicle accident that occurred on October 10, 2017.

The victim of the fatality was identified as 23-year-old Cody Severight.

At the time of the arrest, the absence of Drive Over .08 or Refuse Breathalyzer charges against Holz caused much speculation.

Speculate no more.

IIU Media Release

Today the IIU announced they’ve laid three further charges against Holz.

The charges include;

  • Dangerous Driving
  • Dangerous Driving Cause Death
  • Drive Over .08 Cause Death

IIU Civilian Director Zane Tessler told media outlets, “I am satisfied there are reasonable grounds to lay each of the charges. It comes after more in-depth analysis of all the surrounding evidence.”

Tessler indicated some of that evidence was secured after investigators conducted further detailed examinations of the crash scene.

The IIU indicated the investigation was ongoing and no further information will be released.

Holz was originally released on a promise to appear and was suspended with pay pending the outcome of an internal review.

WPS Chief Danny Smyth placed two additional officers on paid administrative leave in the Holz case after receiving information regarding their conduct in the investigation.

“I am in a difficult position because I cannot comment about specifics of the IIU investigation. That said, I expect members of the Police Service to act professionally,” Smyth said in a press conference.

“While I do not know if the two officers have done anything criminal, it is in the best interests of the Service that they be removed from duty. Their actions will be examined by the IIU,” he continued.

Off Duty WPS Officer Arrested

Prior to the announcement of the additional charges against Holz, the WPS had occasion to arrest one of their own in yet another impaired driving investigation.

On Sunday, November 26, 2017, an eight year member of the Winnipeg Police Service was arrested for refusing a breathalyzer after patrol officers attended the scene of a minor collision on Enniskillen Avenue near McGregor Street.

The IIU was notified of the arrest, however, the WPS is continuing the investigation.

The officer, who was off duty at the time of the incident, has yet to be formally charged.

No other details of the incident have been released.


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