SARNIA, ONT. -- A man is dead and Ontario's Special Investigations Unit (SIU) is investigating following a fatal crash early Wednesday on Russell Street.

A vehicle, with a man’s body still inside, remained covered with a tarp in the school yard of Hanna Memorial Public School all morning.

The school is located directly south of Bluewater Health hospital.

The incident leading to the death began just after 4 a.m. when a Sarnia police officer, on patrol on Russell Street, noted a vehicle passing by.

Sarnia police Const. Giovanni Sottosanti says the officer witnessed a driving offence being committed, “The officer then attempted to turn around and follow the vehicle, which then attempted to evade the police officer.”

A short time later the vehicle smashed through a large section of steel fence enclosing the school yard between George and Maria streets.

The car came to rest, upright, in the playground.

As a result the school is closed Wednesday, but is expected to reopen Thursday.

Fatal Crash in Sarnia
A tarp lays across a vehicle following a fatal collision in Sarnia, Ont. on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. (Sean Irvine / CTV News)

Don McDonald, who lives immediately to the west of the crash, heard it occur.

“Just sounded like a car scraping along a fence. It woke us up. We went out, there were police cars everywhere.”

McDonald went outside and immediately heard a disturbing conversation.

“There was a police officer there hollering ‘Are you OK, are you OK?’ But he wasn’t getting any response.”

“They (the officers) determined that the driver, who was the lone occupant of the vehicle, was deceased,” confirmed Sottosanti.

With the man deceased at the scene, the SIU is now involved.

SIU investigating Sarnia crash
Sarnia police and Ontario's Special Investigations Unit work at the scene of a fatal crash in Sarnia, Ont. on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. (Sean Irvine / CTV News)

The SIU launches an investigation when injury or death occurs following a police interaction.

Officials say a post mortem is expected to be done Friday in Toronto.

As a team of investigators arrived at the scene neighbours expressed shock at the site.

“It’s unreal, just unreal,” stated Penny Cousins.

Glancing at the covered car, John Smithson added the scene unfortunately adds to his neighbourhood's recent woes.

“The murder that just occurred there a couple of weeks ago was behind our home. It’s a crazy little neighbourhood these days.”

Which is why, he wishes for the sake of the victim and the area, that this incident had been avoided

“Why didn’t he just pull over. Look at the consequences now.”

- With files from CTV's Justin Zadorsky