A cabbie who crashed into a tree on Sept. 20 had been stabbed in his stomach by a passenger trying to rob him, says a Duffy’s Taxi colleague.
The white Prius cab was southbound on Beverley Street near Portage Avenue when it crashed into the tree at about 3:50 a.m., killing the 43-year-old passenger and injuring the 31-year-old driver.
At the time, there was speculation the driver lost control because of unruly behaviour by his passenger.
That was confirmed by the Duffy’s colleague and also by police this morning, who said it appears an attempted robbery was in progress and a knife was used.
"As a result of the surveillance footage reviewed, investigators now possess information to support that a robbery attempt by the passenger had taken place," police said in a news release. "Also, due to an extensive search of the severely damaged vehicle, officers have located and seized a knife believed to have been used during the incident."
The colleague says the driver, who remains in Health Sciences Centre, was stabbed in his stomach and ribs.
The driver is awake in hospital, but can’t speak. He had previously lost a leg before the incident and his remaining leg was broken three times in the crash.
"I’ve known him for four or five years and we’ve never had a complaint about him, he is a very nice man," said the colleague, who asked not to be named. "He is good with customers, he would say ‘I try to do my duty as good as possible, I follow all the rules and policies."
The driver has not been publicly named.
Co-workers of the driver are collecting money to help the driver. There is a locked donation box on the counter of the taxi office at 1100 Notre Dame Avenue
The police investigation into the crash continues.
The dead passenger has been previously identified as 43-year-old Jackson Muminawatum Jr., of Norway House.
Muminawatum's father, Jackson Sr., said his son had only recently returned to Winnipeg from the family home in Norway House.
"The last time I saw him was Tuesday," Muminawatum said. "He asked me for money and then he hitchhiked out of here."
Muminawatum said his son had been in and out of jail, most recently released from Headingley Correctional Institute in May after serving nine months of an 18-month sentence. His son had been in most of the province's jails, Muminawatum said.