|A taxi struck a tree at Portage Ave and Beverly Street, in Winnipeg, at approximately 4:00 a.m. One person is dead, another is in critical condition as a result of the crash. Thursday, September 20, 2012. (Chris Procaylo/Winnipeg Sun)
WINNIPEG - The passenger killed in a taxi crash last month was trying to rob the cabbie, Winnipeg police confirmed Monday.
Traffic collision investigators have now seized a knife believed to have been used in the hold-up attempt. Officers were also able to collect surveillance video from the cab.
“Those images support that an attempt(ed) robbery was taking place,” said Const. Jason Michalyshen, a city police spokesman.
The 31-year-old driver remains in critical condition, police said.
The Sept. 20 crash of a Duffy’s taxi on Beverley Street just south of Portage Avenue killed the cab’s lone passenger, Jackson Muminawatum Jr., 43.
The day after the crash, police said the images on the surveillance tape had not assisted the investigation.
“There does appear to have been some sort of malfunction, possibly due to the collision,” Michalyshen said Monday.
Police persisted and the forensic imaging team was able to retrieve some of the footage.
Exactly why the cab collided with a tree on Beverley Street, however, police wouldn’t speculate on publicly.
“We’re still in the process of speaking with the driver, who’s still in critical condition,” said Michalyshen.
Drivers and staff at various Winnipeg cab companies have been making donations to help the driver, who may be confined to a wheelchair because of the collision, said Gurdip Singh of Duffy’s, who was hesitant Monday to talk about the police investigation.
“It’s good that they found the knife to verify it was a robbery,” he said.
Muminawatum Jr., who has ties to Norway House, had a long list of convictions in provincial court dating back to 2001. Some of the convictions include assault, theft and failing to comply with various court conditions.