Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Accused dismayed by charges

Man who drove into salon says he tried to stop

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The man accused of driving the speeding SUV that plowed into a Westwood hair salon in April, killing Kendall Wiebe and injuring another woman, denies any responsibility for the crash.

Adebola Shoyoye said he has 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."

Police said Tuesday 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.

Police spokesman Const. Jason Michalyshen said a lengthy investigation by police, Transport Canada and Chrysler Canada could find no mechanical problems with the 2012 Jeep Liberty Shoyoye drove that day.

Michalyshen said the only conclusion is the incident was caused by driver error. "Our goal initially was to determine, was this vehicle mechanically sound," Michalyshen said.

"The only thing we are now led to believe that this was either human error or driver error, with respect to the collision."

Michalyshen said it's surprising, given the speed and route of the Jeep, that no one else was injured.

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 in both countries found no mechanical defects.

Following the police briefing, Shoyoye talked to the Free Press, and expressed dismay at the charges.

He said he had rented the Jeep three days before the crash. On the day of the crash, he had spent the afternoon visiting his mother, who had 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.

"I did everything I could to avoid hitting anyone or anything. I thought I was going to die."

Shoyoye said he can't express how he feels about the death of Wiebe, 27, and the effect on her family and friends.

"I don't understand why God let me live and not her," Shoyoye said. "I walked away with a tiny scratch and a little bit of glass in my eye. I don't understand why."

Shoyoye said he wanted to reach out to Wiebe's family in the days following the crash but didn't know how or even if he would be welcomed.

"This will haunt me for the rest of my life," Shoyoye said. "I just killed someone. I wished I could have found the will to stop that vehicle... I'm just sad. I'm very sad."

Shoyoye said he has no criminal record or traffic tickets, adding he has been branded a criminal now.

"I'm going to fight this."

Shoyoye moved to Winnipeg in 2002. He got his driver's licence 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 had previously obtained a political studies degree at the U of M. He said his goal is to work with Canada Customs or to return to school to study law.

Shoyoye said he rented a car in April because his own vehicle had been in a collision and was written off a month earlier.

Steve Cancilla, Wiebe's common-law husband, said he doesn'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's 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 to raise Cancilla's nine-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter from a previous relationship.

Cancilla said he is disappointed Shoyoye remains free until another court appearance, adding, however, he's concentrating on helping his young family heal and survive this ordeal.

"I'm just going to have to trust the police and the justice system will do their job."

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 3, 2012 B1

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