Investigation into police shooting closes portion of Highway 401 near Chatham-Kent

SIU and OPP vehicles are seen where a car rests in the ditch along Highway 401 in Chatham-Kent, Ont. on Wednesday, July 7, 2021. (Sean Irvine / CTV News)

A portion of Highway 401 near Highgate, Ont. was closed Wednesday due to an investigation into a police-involved fatality.

Shortly before 5:30 a.m. Ontario Provincial Police tweeted that the westbound lanes of Highway 401 were closed at Orford Road due to an investigation.

By late Wednesday morning westbound traffic was backed up to Duart Road and by Wednesday afternoon all lanes were closed in both directions between Victoria and Orford roads with detours in place.

How long the roadway is expected to be closed is not known.

At the scene, a tan four-door Pontiac Sunfire could be seen in the median, and an Ontario Special Investigations Unit (SIU) vehicle was also on scene.

The closure is connected to an SIU investigation regarding a police-involved shooting.

The SIU was called in to investigate after Chatham-Kent OPP pursued a vehicle suspected of being involved in a gas theft around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday.

While police followed the vehicle, the driver reportedly lost control on the 401 and the vehicle rolled into the ditch.

The SIU says an officer discharged his pistol during an interaction with a male occupant of the vehicle and the male was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The investigation is ongoing.

- With files from CTV News London's Sean Irvine

UPDATE: ROAD CLOSURE: #Hwy401 EB and WB between Victoria Rd and Orford Rd #Highgate #ChathamKent. Please follow the EDR (Emergency Detour Route). Reopening time unknown. ^aw

— OPPCommunicationsWR (@OPP_COMM_WR) July 7, 2021