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Cabbie says he was driving during accident

Andrew Rankin
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, March 11, 2010

INUVIK - Police say the owner of a Delta Cabs vehicle which crashed on the ice road last month was not behind the wheel and a female suspect is facing pending charges of drunk driving and impaired operation of a vehicle causing bodily harm.

"The investigation (into the collision) revealed the cab itself was being operated by an intoxicated female, not the cab owner or the cab driver," said Cpl. Sean Doornbos.

NNSL photo/graphic

In his hospital room on Wednesday morning, Rezaur Rahman shows his frostbitten fingers, which he suffered after his vehicle crashed on the ice road on Feb. 25. - Andrew Rankin/NNSL photo

He said a total of three people, including another female and a male, were in the vehicle at the time of the crash. Though Doornbos wouldn't reveal their names because the case is under investigation, Ayman El Shafei, Delta Cabs general manager, confirmed that the cab's owner Rezaur Rahman was in the vehicle.

But El Shafei said Rahman had been driving at the time of the accident and that it occurred after his shift finished.

According to Doornbos, the crash happened near the intersection of the ice road and Carn Street, which leads to Arctic Chalet, at around 6 a.m. on Feb. 25.

"The vehicle, which was travelling southbound on the ice road, hit a three or four foot snow berm and went airborne approximately 50 metres," said Doornbos.

He said police arrived at the scene of the accident shortly after the crash occurred; by then the occupants were gone.

Rahman is being treated at Inuvik Regional Hospital for, he said, severe frostbite to his hands and feet, which he suffered after the crash.

Speaking from his hospital room, Rahman said the accident occurred after his shift ended at 5 a.m. Two of his female friends called him and asked to be picked up. He said the women appeared sober. Although he said he knew both women's first names, he was unsure of their surnames.

"I had some ladies in my car that just wanted to go for a ride," he said. "They wanted to go on the ice road. I was supposed to make a left turn (onto Carn Street) but I was too late and hit the bank."

He said after the accident his vehicle was stuck and severely damaged so he called a cab to come and pick him and the two women up, but the driver was unable to find the group. He contacted the driver again and arranged to be picked up at Arctic Chalet.

Rahman said he suffered severe frostbite because he wasn't wearing gloves or proper footwear at the time.

"I lost my gloves when I was upset. The car was completely damaged. I wasn't thinking right."

He said after being picked up the cab driver dropped him off at the hospital. He added he thought the women went home.

Rahman said he'll remain in the hospital for another two weeks until he heals and is able to walk again.

Delta Cab owner Duane DeBastien told Inuvik Drum on Saturday that he had no knowledge of the accident and hadn't spoken to Rahman since it occurred.

"I'm waiting for him to get out of (the hospital)," he said. "I don't know the real story so I will not make any comment on it."

Drivers for both town-based cab companies own their vehicles. El Shafei said once drivers end their shifts with Delta Cabs, the company is no longer responsible for their actions.

"That had nothing to do with us as a company," he said. "It's his own private car driving personal people. Whatever they were doing is between them and the RCMP and the hospital."

He said he's upset about losing one of his drivers, especially since the company has just gotten off the ground.

"If it comes back that the passengers were for hire or he collected money from them during non- business hours we will discipline him," said El Shafei.

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