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Man found in car that went into ocean had been arrested hours earlier; police watchdog investigating

B.C.’s police watchdog is investigating after the death of a man whose car went into the ocean near Victoria airport hours after he was arrested and released by West Shore RCMP.

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. says the man, who has not been identified, was arrested around 3 p.m. Saturday, according to information provided by the RCMP. He was released around 7 p.m. and about 20 minutes later he was reported to have breached his conditions.

West Shore RCMP communicated with the man about the breach, and he was not taken into custody.

Shortly before 9 p.m. Saturday, Sidney-North Saanich RCMP received a call about a vehicle going into Saanich Inlet at the end of Mills Road and West Saanich Road in North Saanich.

The driver and lone occupant of the car died and was later confirmed to be the same man West Shore RCMP had recently arrested and released.

The IIO is investigating to determine if police actions or inactions may have played a role in the man’s death. The independent civilian oversight agency investigates all incidents involving officers that result in serious harm or death, whether or not there is an allegation of wrongdoing.