The president of a local taxi association is calling for taxi drivers and city police to work together to better report and intercept impaired drivers, after an early morning collision Wednesday left a taxi cab passenger on life-support.

A 21-year-old man is facing various charges including criminal hit-and-run in the head-on crash between a BMW sedan and a taxi cab. More charges may come pending the outcome of toxicology reports, police say.

“If there’s a good relationship between police and taxi companies and drivers, we can all work together in the future to curb crime and curb drunk drivers,” said Balraj Manhas, president of the United Cabbies Association of Edmonton.

The collision, near 107th Street and 121st Avenue, occurred around 2:15 a.m. when the southbound sedan crossed the centre line, drove over the median and struck the northbound cab. All four occupants of the taxi were taken to hospital.

One cab passenger, a 25-year-old man, was revived by EMS en route to hospital and remained in hospital in life-threatening condition Wednesday. The others were taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The driver and a female passenger in the BMW ran from the scene, but were tracked by the EPS Canine Unit near 97th Street and 122nd Avenue, and taken into custody.

Police say Chris Lane Lindgren, 21, of Grande Prairie, is facing charges including possession of stolen property and five counts of criminal hit and run.

Manhas, who has been driving a cab in the city for almost 15 years, said there are particular times of day that are especially dangerous to be on Edmonton’s roads.

“Every Friday and Saturday night and also in the early morning hours, from 2 a.m. until about 4:30 a.m., we have to be very careful,” Manhas said. “We witness drunk drivers on the road and it’s dangerous for everyone.”

Manhas said there is no formal policy in place for cab drivers to report suspected impaired drivers. He’s heard from cab drivers who have called police about suspected impaired drivers and felt they weren’t taken seriously.

“I think police and taxi companies and taxi drivers can work together on this, and taxi drivers can become a good ambassador to the police department,” Manhas said.

Scott Pattison, a spokesman with Edmonton Police Service, said all citizens can call 911 if they spot someone they suspect is driving while impaired. People are asked to report the last direction of travel of the suspect vehicle, the make of the vehicle and a licence plate.

“We value our relationships with these companies, such as cabs or courier companies, to freely and without hesitation call us,” Pattison said.

Source: Edmonton Journal


Last updated on: 2013-11-08 | Link to this post