A Winnipeg taxi driver is still unable to tell police what led to the crash that landed him in a hospital bed.
On Thursday morning, a southbound taxi on Beverley Street near Portage Avenue suddenly swerved into a tree, completely caving in the front end of the cab, and sending the driver and it’s passenger to hospital, both in critical condition. The passenger later died of his injuries.
He’s been identified to Global News by family members as 43-year-old Jackson Muminawatum.
Police said Thursday there were witness reports of an altercation inside the cab shortly before the crash.
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority says the driver, 31-year-old Abdikhadir Ibrahim, remains in critical condition in hospital.
Winnipeg Police may not even be able to use the cab’s interior surveillance footage to help with the investigation. Police said Friday that the equipment was not activated.
“We have not been able to review that footage. Right now that footage does not appear to be available,” said Const. Jason Michalyshen with Winnipeg Police Service.
In a later email to Global News, Michalyshen clarified the statement by saying the equipment was ‘on’, but may not have been recording. The Manitoba Taxicab Board, which helps regulate the cameras, did not return calls for comment Friday.
Meant to act as a robbery and assault deterrent, video cameras were mandated in Winnipeg cabs in 2002 following the July 2001 murder of cab driver Pritam Deol.
After one year, a study showed there was a 71% decrease in serious in-cab crimes.
Eyob Meshesh, who has been driving taxi in Winnipeg for a decade, said he remembers when the cameras were first implemented. But Meshesh believes his own safety depends mostly on his own decisions.
“The camera is there, the (safety) shield is here, but you know things happen on the job site,” Said Meshesh.
Cab drivers are also required to complete a Winnipeg Taxicab Safety Course. The man who used to teach it said he used to instruct drivers about ‘last resort’ maneuvers.
“I would say that if their life was threatened and they felt they had no alternative, they could crash the car and attempt to save themselves,” Said Gord Barton, a now retired Taxi Safety Instructor.
Winnipeg Police continue to look for additional footage to assist in the Beverley Street investigation.
Child Find Manitoba Inc., located on Portage Avenue near the crash scene, has its own surveillance cameras pointed in the direction of the tree. A spokesman told Global News that its cameras did not capture any of the crash.