Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 04/11/2012 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
As a family mourns the death of a young mother, police are still trying to determine why a driver lost control of his SUV, sped through a busy intersection and crashed into a hair salon Saturday.
Kendall Wiebe, 27, was taken off life-support Tuesday, three days after a 2012 Jeep Liberty plowed into the salon, which is part of the Crestview Shopping Centre at Portage Avenue and Cavalier Drive.
Police have not determined what caused the crash. Their investigation is continuing and charges could be pending against the 32-year-old male driver of the Jeep. Drugs and alcohol are not considered factors in the crash.
"I think this is not something that we typically see, especially with the speed and the damage that was caused," said Winnipeg Police Service spokeswoman Const. Natalie Aitken. She said the SUV didn't appear to hit anything as it sped through the strip mall's parking lot north of Portage Avenue.
"Right now, anything to do with that vehicle or how it was travelling prior to it coming to rest at that business is something that we would be looking at," said Aitken. "So certainly, any mechanical evidence that we can gain from that vehicle is ongoing and that will take quite some time to progress through."
On Tuesday, Wiebe's family released a statement to Global News acknowledging her death with "extreme sadness of heart."
"We are encouraged by the prayer support we are receiving from our immediate families, friends, extended communities and general public," wrote the Wiebe and Cancilla families. "We are further encouraged by the ongoing investigation by the Winnipeg Police Service team to find the true cause for this senseless incident, in the hope that other families might not have to experience such a tragic loss."
The family also thanked police, emergency crews, hospital staff and witnesses, especially the witness who immediately called 911.
The family said Wiebe's organs and tissues had been made available for donation.
Wiebe leaves behind a daughter, as well as a partner and his children.
"She was a wonderful mother, very outgoing, genuinely kind," said a relative of Wiebe's, who did not want her name used. She said Wiebe worked as a hairstylist for more than five years and was the mother to a four-year-old daughter, Brynn.
The family, which has roots in Rosenfeld, a small community about 100 kilometres south of Winnipeg, is reeling from the death.
A trust fund has been set up for Wiebe's children -- Brynn, Bryce, 9, and Meagan, 13 -- at Assiniboine Credit Union under the Kendall Wiebe/Cancilla Memorial Fund. People can donate at any of ACU's 25 branches.
Some have speculated the SUV accelerated uncontrollably, but a CAA Manitoba official said such an event is extremely rare.
Tom Mark, CAA Manitoba's vice-president of automotive services, said aside from a well-publicized issue associated with Toyota a few years ago, it doesn't happen.
"An uncontrolled acceleration is very uncommon," Mark said.
"After the problem with Toyota, I'm just not aware of any other incident and I don't believe there was a definitive explanation for what happened to the Toyota vehicles."
There have been reports of floor mats in a variety of makes of automobiles sliding up and under the gas pedal and causing the gas pedal to stick.
However, there have been no recalls of Jeep Liberty vehicles that involved sudden and uncontrolled acceleration.
Transport Canada has reported recalls of the Jeep Liberty that involved a variety of other problems: Some of the 2010 and 2007 models were recalled because of the potential for braking issues that could lead to accidents; and some 2002/03 models were recalled because of the potential for a loss of steering control that could lead to accidents.
Investigators may have other avenues to pursue to find an explanation for the crash.
According to an online version of the 2012 Jeep Liberty manual, the vehicle has an event data recorder that records how far a brake or accelerator was pressed down and how fast the vehicle was going.
Event data recorders collect the information when crashes or near-crashes happen.
Mark said if drivers find themselves in a vehicle that is accelerating uncontrollably, they should act quickly to regain control.
"If your engine is racing, the wheels are driving, you want to take that driving force away," Mark said. "The best way to do that is to place your vehicle in neutral, regain control and bring it to a stop."
Mark said placing a vehicle in neutral is the quickest and best way to deal with a vehicle undergoing an uncontrolled acceleration. With the vehicle in neutral, the wheels are no longer driving the vehicle forward.
One of the worst things to do is to turn the engine off, which runs the risk of shutting down the vehicle's steering or braking capabilities, he added.
The vehicle's engine could over-rev once placed in neutral and be damaged, he said, but that's a better alternative to losing control and causing a serious crash.
People in the strip mall Tuesday afternoon were still cleaning up from the aftermath of Saturday's crash -- with workers bustling about inside the Ultracuts salon and an insurance business next door.
Huge pieces of a wall that normally separated the salon and the insurance business were missing.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 11, 2012 A5
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Woman identified in city's 18th homicide
A man is dead after a fight at a home in Norway House
Winnipeg's firefighters are backing Judy Wasylycia-Leis
Brian Sinclair's lawyers argue that his right to sue medical authorities did not die with him
MTS Centre renovations have expanded restaurant and lounge areas
Officer wins bid to move inquest to Winnipeg
Time to vote for the all-time offensive line Bomber player
WPS overstaffed and inefficient: Fraser Institute
Host of young Winnipeg actors nominated for the Joey Awards
Katz, Browaty announce $520K investment at Chornick Park
Upcoming exhibition game chance for new Jets prospects to shine
Democratic-independent ballot scramble panics GOP
Authors Stenson, Pick at news café
Winnipeg Jewish Theatre back in December with first of two-show playbill
Environmental progress is feasible
Questions remain after White House security breach
'Amazing Race Canada' winners speak out
Confusing WSD boundaries on candidates' meeting agenda
Weather warming up for first week of fall
Police continue probe of 'very horrific incident'
Wrong to count NDP out: experts
Unfinished galleries make for a disappointing opening for human rights museum
Feeling lukewarm over the summer that was
Fall TV preview: Four new shows hitting screens on Monday
Slick Nik Ehlers Jets' big story as pre-season begins tonight
Green protesters join thousands worldwide
Sextet gets its groove on
Maze Runner leaves A Walk in the dust
Minimum wage hike necessary as CPI climbs
ALS volunteer knows value of care
Drug policy seriously outdated
Chiarot all meat and potatoes
Downs crosses finish line with special day
Chrétien's speech a highlight of human rights gala
Minnesota Wild at Winnipeg Jets, Sept. 22
Edge gets an edge on mountain homes
Target eyes shortcomings in Canada
The bitter truth
Brohm preps for Blue debut