Cabbie guilty of hitting pedestrian

A taxi driver was found guilty Monday of hitting a man who was crossing Victoria Street shortly after he had been released from the drunk tank at the Prince George RCMP detachment.

Facing a count of failing to yield to a pedestrian at a crosswalk under the Motor Vehicle Act, Khalid Ayub Khan chose to take the matter to trial.

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The collision occurred at about 3 a.m. on Sept. 15, 2018 at Victoria and Fifth. Khan had been heading north in the right lane when he struck the man as he made his way east across Victoria and after traffic in the southbound lanes had stopped to let the man cross.

The collision occurred at an "unmarked" crosswalk. In reciting the law on motorists and pedestrians, Provincial Court Judge Michael Brecknell noted in part that a crosswalk can consist of the "lateral lines of a sidewalk on opposite sides of a highway."

Khan, who self-represented, testified he never saw the man until he had been struck and blamed the accident on the fact the man was wearing dark clothing combined with poor lighting at the scene and the effects of "negative to positive" contrast as the man moved across the street.

On his allegation of poor lighting, Khan noted that a street light at the spot was cycling on and off and received confirmation of the problem from city hall.

Provincial Court Judge Michael Brecknell disagreed with Khan's assessment, saying Khan only noticed the blinking light upon returning to the scene during daylight hours after the collision and it's "not possible to calculate the impact of one light among many being on or off."

The headlights on Khan's car were also working properly at the time, Brecknell noted.

Brecknell also found that Khan was about two blocks away and traveling slowly when the man began crossing the street and that the lights from the southbound vehicles would have illuminated the pedestrian as he was crossing the street.

A driver in another taxi heading in the same direction in the left lane and behind Khan testified he noticed Khan's car swerve slightly upon making impact.

The court heard that one of the RCMP members who arrived at the scene recognized the man from seeing him 10 minutes earlier in the detachment cellblock when RCMP checked on his sobriety prior to releasing him.

While RCMP determined he was sober enough to walk on his own, man tends to walk with a limp and often uses a walker or a wheelchair to get around. B.C.'s civilian-based police watchdog, the Independent Investigations Office, launched an investigation and found no wrongdoing, the court was also told.

The extent of the man's injuries was not noted in the verdict.

Brecknell endorsed Crown prosecution's position that Khan be fined $145 for the offence, the minimum amount that can be issued, in acknowledgment of Khan's concern for the victim and the income he lost while the car was in policy custody for a mechanical inspection.

Brecknell also recommended that the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles not issue a driving prohibition to Khan.

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