VANCOUVER Police are recommending several charges against the driver of a car-share vehicle who was involved in a collision that resulted in the death of Yellow Cab driver Sanehpal Randhawa, 29, driving a taxi in late December.
However, due to the current medical condition of the driver, it is expected that charges will not be approved at this time, as the driver is unable to participate in resulting court proceedings.
Vancouver Police have recommended six charges to Crown counsel related to impaired driving and the dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.
“This is an incredibly sad and tragic case for the affected families, the community and our investigators,” said Constable Tania Visintin. “It is difficult to accept that the suspect cannot be held accountable at this time due to his medical state. However, in recommending charges, we are hoping there will be some sense of closure for the family and friends of the victim.”
Police have confirmed that the suspect, who was in Canada at the time of the crash, has returned to his home country. However, investigators will monitor his medical condition and will evaluate the next steps if his condition improves to a point where he is able to participate in the court process.
The collision occurred at around 3:30 a.m. on December 29 at the intersection of 1st Avenue and Renfrew Street. It involved a car2go smart car and a taxi. The taxi driver was transported to hospital with life-threatening injuries and died a short time later. Two passengers in the taxi were treated for non-life threatening injuries in hospital, and the suspect was transferred to hospital with serious injuries.
The driver was identified as Sanehpal Randhawa by Kulwant Sahota, President of Yellow Cab, who told the media that he had been working with the taxi company for the past three years. He had also been attending school. His father had recently visited him from India. He had just bought a new home in Surrey and had planned to move there in the New Year.
According to Randhawa’s Facebook, he studied at Robin Model School in Dhuri in Sangrur district of Punjab. He also studied at Sheridan College in Ontario.
Also, the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. in late January announced that it had discontinued its investigation of the Vancouver Police’s involvement in the incident after concluding that that the actions of police did not contribute to the collision.
Vancouver Police Department reported that on December 29, just before 3:30 a.m., a Car2Go Smart car made off from a road check being conducted on East Hastings Street near Clark Drive. A short time later the same vehicle was seen by an officer driving at high speed, eastbound along East Hastings Street. The officer completed a U-turn to follow the Smart car, but lost sight of the car and did not re-locate it. Unknown to police at the time was the fact the Smart car had turned off of Hastings Street onto Renfrew Street, the IIO BC said in a press statement.
Approximately 10 minutes later, officers received a report of a collision between a Yellow Cab and the same Smart car at the intersection of 1st Avenue and Renfrew Street. The driver of the taxi did not survive his injuries and the IIO commenced an investigation.
The Chief Civilian Director reviewed the information obtained during the IIO investigation, including police records and CCTV footage. While police did attempt to stop the driver at a roadcheck, no further police contact was made, and the evidence determined that the actions of police did not contribute to the collision. Police were not in the vicinity at the time of the collision and only learned of it after other emergency services arrived at the scene, the IIO BC said.