One person is dead after a sedan with three passengers struck a pole on the south-east corner of Bloor Street East and Parliament Street on Monday night. It was raining and foggy at the scene of the accident. The vehicle’s front was mangled and shards of glass littered the road.
“What we have essentially is a son that didn’t come home and a daughter that may not survive…because of someone who made the decision to operate a motor vehicle while being impaired,” Const. Clinton Stibbe, Toronto Police Service, said Tuesday.
One man, 25, was pronounced dead at the hospital, according to police. Two women passengers, both 20, were hurt, although only one suffered life threatening injuries. The driver was 23, according to police.
“That person we’re dealing with had an alcohol component, [but] there has been no determination if there was a drug component,”Stibbe said.
Galeeb Abau-Jabeen, 23, of Toronto was charged with six crimes including impaired operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm, impaired operation of a motor vehicle causing death and others.
Abau-Jabeen is listed as a mechanic at Active Rebuilders, previously at 33 Layton Avenue. According to locals, the business moved two years ago. The building stands empty, with broken windows and a locked fence.
Lawrence Winters works besides Abau-Jabeen’s old body-shop.
“I went over a couple of times to get a tool from him,” Winters said Tuesday about the suspect.
Across the street at the Racetrack Auto Centre, employees remember the guys who worked in the body-shop. Although they weren’t sure if they knew Abau-Jabeen, they recalled the men they saw were friendly.
Abau-Jabeen appeared in court on Tuesday morning. He is being held in custody until he appears in court again on Dec.1. He was ordered not to communicate with any of the passengers in the car.
This year Toronto has seen 74 motor-vehicle-related fatalities, the highest since 2003, Stibbe said.
A Canada-wide Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere (RIDE) program for the holiday season started on Friday and ended its first patrol Tuesday night. There was a RIDE checkpoint in Toronto on Monday night, but it was not near the site of the accident.
Since the start of the RIDE program, there have been 18 people charged with impaired driving, including two that were drug related. Stibbe said overall impaired driving because of drugs is up “substantially”
“When we look at our impaired driving by drug numbers, we are at 81 year-to-date versus 24 last year at the same period,” Stibbe said.
It isn’t just marijuana that police are screening for when they pull over impaired drivers.
“We are seeing situations of poly-drug, which is more than one drug involved in consumption,” Stibbe said.
Although Marijuana is a drug that the police screen routinely for, it is not one of the most common drugs detected.