Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Mall owner sues over fatal crash in 2012

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The owners of a St. James mall are suing a Winnipeg motorist and a major car-rental company for damages that occurred in a bizarre crash that killed a young mother.

LS Properties, which owns Crestview Shopping Centre on Portage Avenue, is seeking more than $198,000 in damages from Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Adebola Shoyoye, 34, after a nearly new Jeep Liberty slammed into an Ultracuts salon on April 7, 2012.

The crash killed 27-year-old salon employee Kendall Wiebe and seriously injured another woman.

Shoyoye was criminally charged six months after the crash and is currently pending trial for dangerous driving causing death.

In a negligence-based lawsuit, the mall's owners allege Shoyoye drove in a "careless and reckless manner," was speeding and failed to brake or steer away in time to avoid the collision.

The company also accuses Enterprise of failing to keep the 2012-model vehicle in "good and proper operating condition."

The allegations have not been proven nor tested in court and no trial dates have been set.

The lawsuit, which is in preliminary stages, does not detail the damage the crash caused to the mall nor outline how its owners plan to prove their allegations.

It was filed in the Court of Queen's Bench just days after Shoyoye was committed to stand trial after a preliminary inquiry in provincial court.

Winnipeg police have said their investigation could find no mechanical problems with the Jeep.

As a result, they said the only conclusion investigators were left with was driver error.

There have been widespread reports of Jeep models experiencing unintended acceleration in Canada and the U.S. in recent years, but subsequent probes by authorities in both countries found no mechanical defects.

In an interview after he was charged, Shoyoye said he rented the Jeep a few days before the crash. Shoyoye said he was on his way home when the vehicle went out of control.

"The police told me 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."

Wiebe's common-law husband has said he doesn't believe Shoyoye's version.

The Crestwood Dental Centre and the insurance company for Ultracuts also filed lawsuits against Shoyoye and Enterprise this month.

james.turner@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 15, 2014 A10

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