The man accused of driving the speeding SUV that crashed into a Westwood hair salon in April, killing Kendall Wiebe, 27, and injuring another woman, is denying any responsibility for the crash.
Adebola Shoyoye said he lived with the nightmare of that day for almost six months, adding he was shocked when police charged him on Friday.
"I thought they were going to clear me," Shoyoye told the Free Press. "As God is my witness, I did nothing wrong."
Winnipeg police announced this morning that Shoyoye, 32, has been charged with criminal negligence causing death, criminal negligence causing bodily harm, dangerous operation causing death and dangerous operation causing bodily harm.
WPS spokesman Const. Jason Michalyshen said that a lengthy investigation by police, Transport Canada and Chrysler Canada could find no mechanical problems with the 2012 Jeep Liberty that Shoyoye was driving that day.
Michalyshen said the only conclusion police are left with is driver error.
There have been widespread reports of Jeep models experiencing unintended acceleration in Canada and the United States over the past few years but subsequent investigations by authorities in both countries found no mechanical defects.
Shoyoye said he had rented the Jeep three days before the accident. On the day of the crash, he had spent the afternoon visiting his mother, who had only recently moved to Winnipeg from Nigeria.
Shoyoye said he was on his way home when the Jeep went out of control.
"I pushed the brake, it would not stop," Shoyoye said. "The police told me (Friday) that I somehow made a mistake, hit the gas instead of the brake but that’s not how it happened. The vehicle would not stop."
Shoyoye said he can’t express how he feels over Wiebe’s death and the impact that has caused her family and friends.
"I don’t understand why God let me live and not her," he said.
Shoyoye came to Winnipeg in 2002. He got his driver’s license in 2005. He said he was a student at the University of Manitoba at the time of the crash, adding he graduated in June with an undergraduate degree in criminology. He said his goal is to work some day with customs or to return to school to study law.
Steve Cancilla, Wiebe's’s common-law husband, said he didn’t believe Shoyoye’s version of events.
Cancilla said there were plenty of opportunities for Shoyoye to stop the Jeep before it hit the hair salon, adding he could have crashed the Jeep into any number of parked cars or empty businesses.
"I think that a load of BS," Cancilla said. "That was a brand new car from a rental agency --- there was nothing wrong with it. Any idiot could have figured that out. I just couldn’t believe it took them six months."
Wiebe was the mother of the couple’s four-year-old daughter, Brynn, and was helping raise Cancilla’s nine-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter from a previous relationship.