NNSL Photo/Graphic

Home page text size buttonsbigger textsmall textText size Email this articleE-mail this page

Man lying in road run over
Tragic accident sparks assault on cab driver, says company owner

Stewart Burnett
Northern News Services
Monday, January 11, 2016

A man from Clyde River lying in the middle of the road between NorthMart and Northwestel in Iqaluit was found dead after he was run over by a taxi around 6 a.m. on New Year's Day.

The chief coroner has ordered an autopsy on the 20-year-old victim, whose name has been kept private.

The RCMP does not suspect foul play in the fatal mishap.

News of the incident sparked an outpouring of grief for the victim as well as much anger toward cab drivers and the cab company in question, Caribou Cabs.

"He's not doing too good," said Danny Savard, co-owner of Caribou Cabs, about the driver involved in the tragic accident. "He's trying to get back to work but it's quite a shock to him."

Savard said he has never had to deal with a situation like this before among his staff. He is seeking counselling for the driver, who he said is still very upset with what happened.

"It's something he has to live with on his conscience for the rest of his life," said Savard.

"We're all dealing with it day by day. We send our sympathies to the family and friends of the deceased. It was a tragic accident. It could happen to anybody, not just a cab driver. It could have been anybody driving down that road."

Savard said that the driver originally mistook the victim for a garbage bag in the road, similar to a piece of debris that might have blown out of a pickup truck. It wasn't until it was too late that he noticed it was a person and tried to veer away.

"It's very obscure on that spot in the road," Savard said. He went to location of the collision and said there are very dark patches of the road.

Since the news, he said, cab drivers have been the target of much vitriol.

"Saturday night (Jan. 2) there was an attack on another cab driver of mine by three people," said Savard. "Two men and a lady attacked one cab driver and blamed him for the incident, which he was not even the right cab driver. I believe every cab driver's being blamed for this incident."

He's called a staff meeting to talk about safety on the road and implement new precautions.

"I'm keeping tabs on assaults on the drivers," said Savard. "Everybody's bracing for it. Hopefully in the next few weeks things will pass."

He added that cab drivers have often picked up people lying beside the road and taken them to the hospital or RCMP.

He expressed deep sympathies for all involved in this incident.

E-mailWe welcome your opinions. Click here to e-mail a letter to the editor.