Saturday, December 29, 2007

'It was an isolated incident'; Cabbie's murder won't result in new safety measures for drivers

From the Kingston Whig-Standard Website:

People who work in the most dangerous occupation in Kingston won't get the protection of any mandatory safety measures. The area's taxi commission, the independent body that oversees the industry, has decided not to order the installation of any safety equipment in Kingston cabs, despite the murder of a veteran cab driver.

"Taxi drivers thought it was an isolated case and I don't think they wanted us to take any action," said Ken Matthews, chairman of the commission.

Kingston cabs are not required to be equipped with any gear to protect drivers. Some cabs have panic buttons that allow drivers to quickly signal an emergency to a dispatcher.

Matthews said the commission might revisit the idea of mandatory equipment within six months.

"There's still a possibility, but right now there wasn't too much interest," he said.

The decision this month follows roughly six months of study by a 12-member committee formed by the commission. The committee included nine people who own and drive taxis. Among the nine were the three owners of the area's largest taxi companies.

The commission endorsed the recommendation of the committee that the installation of safety gear, such as cameras or partitions, should be voluntary.

"We decided that they could put in whatever they wanted to put in," said Matthews.

He said the safety committee concluded that there is little support in the industry for mandatory equipment for all cabs.

Doug Cox, who owns Kingston Amherst Taxi company and chaired the committee, said only 49 of roughly 300 drivers responded to a survey asking what equipment should be installed.

The best response came from owners, who did not believe the Krick murder was a sign of widespread problems, he said.

"That's what a lot of the [owners] felt, it was an isolated incident," Cox said.

Matthews said he was surprised that there wasn't stronger support for mandatory safety measures.

"I think it may be wise to have cameras," he said.

Safety was reviewed after the June 17 murder of cabbie David Krick. Krick was stabbed to death by a passenger he picked up early on Father's Day morning. A federal parolee was later charged with murder.

Matthews acknowledged there was a "hue and cry" immediately after Krick's murder but he said concern waned.

Cab driver Shelley Scott doesn't agree.

"I'm more than disappointed," said Scott. "I don't know what more it will take to make something happen.

"We lost one driver; how many more will it take to make something mandatory?"

Scott was driving the morning Krick was killed and she was one of the first cabbies to respond to his distress call. She found Krick lying on a sidewalk on Durham Street, bleeding profusely.

Scott helped a police officer administer first aid, but Krick was pronounced dead at hospital.

She believes all cabs should have safety equipment.

"I don't know any other job where something like this would happen and something wasn't done," she said.

Between 1995 and 2005, 25 cab drivers were murdered on the job in Canada, making it the deadliest legal occupation, according to Statistics Canada. In the same period, 18 police officers were killed on duty.

Amherst taxi driver Jim Moriarty believes all cabs should have cameras. He calculated that a fivecent fare hike would collect enough in three years to pay for cameras in every taxi.

"It just proves that my life isn't worth a nickel," Moriarty said. "We're going to need another dead body."

He said profit margins for taxi owners are slim and they don't have to make the job safe since drivers are disposable.

"You can be hired and fired in this industry in a heartbeat," he said.

A veteran taxi driver and owner in Toronto who spearheaded a campaign for safety equipment said Kingston drivers deserve mandatory safety measures.

"I think it's absolutely atrocious that they could come back and recommend it be on a voluntary basis," said Gerry Manley, who lobbied Toronto regulators for 13 years before cameras were made mandatory.

Violence against Toronto cabbies has declined substantially since cameras were introduced.

Voluntary safety measures in Kingston won't work, Manley said.

"That's ridiculous because it'll never get done," he said. "There's no taxi owner or operator ... 99.99 per cent of them will never put out five cents for safety equipment to protect their drivers unless they're mandated to do it."

Manley rejects economic arguments, noting that safety equipment is a business expense that can be written off.

Kingston's commission ordered that all cab drivers watch a safety video and review a booklet before renewing their taxi licences.

"The video is a wonderful reminder, but it doesn't address what happens when someone is hell bent on stabbing you," Scott said.

Assaults on Kingston cabbies are not unusual although Krick's murder is believed to be the first slaying of a taxi driver.

Drivers more often face belligerent, drunken and foul-mouthed passengers, including many who try to skip out on their fares.

Moriarty said there have been at least three violent attacks on Kingston cabbies since Krick's murder.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Alleged accessory makes bail; Woman charged in connection to cabbie's murder

From the Whig-Standard Website:

By Sue Yanagisawa

A Kingston woman charged last month with being an accessory after the fact to the brutal killing in June of veteran taxi driver David Krick has been released from custody to await her trial.

Laura Jean Clow, 39, was given bail without a hearing yesterday by Superior Court Justice Cheryl Robertson. The decision followed a short pretrial discussion in the judge's chambers with assistant Crown attorney Ross Drummond and Clow's lawyer, Mike Mandelcorn.

Drummond consented to Clow being released with one surety, a female friend who has agreed to guarantee that Clow abides by all of her conditions. The court also required a $5,000 bond as a hedge against her compliance, but without any cash being deposited with the court. Under the conditions of her bail, Clow must: continue to live at her Carruthers Avenue apartment; report weekly to Det.-Sgt. Bill Kennedy, who's in charge of the homicide case; and maintain daily contact with her surety, either in person or by telephone.

She's barred from having any weapons and forbidden from communicating with anyone in the slain cab driver's family or with the man accused of killing Krick, 31-year-old Richard Edmund Smith, or with members of his family - with one exception.

Clow has been in custody since her arrest Oct. 9 and has previously been identified by police as Smith's common-law wife.

Police have said she has no criminal record.

Smith, conversely, is a violent federal parolee, originally from Hamilton, who was sent to Kingston following convictions in 2003 for sexual assault with a weapon, forcible confinement, robbery and other charges. He was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison at the time. He was paroled in May 2005, had his parole suspended briefly the same year, then put back on the street.

He was free on June 17, when Krick was stabbed to death. Police believe the attacker was a passenger the 50-year-old cabbie picked up around 6:30 a.m. on Wright Crescent.

Kingston Police also believe Krick's killer robbed him of a small amount of cash before abandoning him, bleeding, on the sidewalk of Durham Street, and stealing his cab.

The taxi was tracked with a Global Positioning System and determined to have taken a meandering route after Krick was stabbed, ending up at an apartment complex on MacPherson Avenue, about three blocks from Clow's apartment.

The killer abandoned the cab at the apartment complex and fled, eluding police.

Smith's parole was suspended again and he was returned to prison in August to complete his original sentence. His warrant of committal is due to expire on the Milton charges at the end of this month.

He wasn't charged with Krick's murder until mid-October, several days after Clow's arrest, and he remains in Collins Bay Penitentiary.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Committee considers accessible taxis; Pilot project would involve three cabs

From the Kingston Whig-Standard Website:

When Mary Margaret Dauphinee needs to get across town, she has to book her ride two weeks in advance.

Dauphinee uses an accessible scooter to get around. The Kingston Access Bus can get her from her apartment by the Kingston Centre to the west end or downtown, but she has to make her plans ahead of time.

Unfortunately, Kingston doesn't have any accessible taxis.

"A lot of people would use the taxis. A lot of people can afford them and would be willing to use them for the convenience," Dauphinee said.

As vice chair of the city's accessibility committee, Dauphinee has heard enough from those who face accessibility issues that it has become one of the main goals of the committee for 2008.

City hall licenses all taxis in Kingston and can hand out permits for companies to have accessible vehicles.

Work is underway to launch a pilot project that would see three accessible taxis in the city. Unlike the Access Bus, they would be available throughout the day and not require booking weeks in advance.

"Certainly taxis would be very good," said Glenn Outhwaite, who joined the committee last year shortly after he started using a wheelchair.

"It will happen. It's just a process we have to go through, but it's just a matter of time."

The committee identified the creation of an accessible taxi program as a priority in its 2008 report, that was released last week and will be the focus of a public meeting Wednesday night. Based on the input from the meeting, the committee and city staff will make additions or revisions to the document before council accepts it next month.

The accessibility committee writes in a report that it will outline options for the city to "motivate, and/or penalize local taxi companies, to put accessible vehicle(s) in their fleet."

The accessibility report is an evaluation of how far the city has come, and how far is still has to go to become completely accessible.

"... the widely held opinion of the longest-serving [committee] members is that there has been more proactivity regarding planning for accessibility in more City of Kingston departments than has been seen in previous years," the report says.

The report also includes a plan for 2008 that lays out what the accessibility committee plans to do and what projects it believes are important issues for the city.

Among those issues is that of accessible taxis, vans or cars that would be able to accommodate someone in a wheelchair inside the vehicle without the person having to leave their chair.

"Despite demand, Kingston-based private taxicab operators, have found that they can no longer economically justify offering accessible taxi vehicles for people using wheelchairs [or] scooters," the report says. "Without accessible taxicabs, Kingston has a void in transportation services available."

The accessible taxis would give residents in wheelchairs an alternative from the Access Bus, the report says. Not everyone qualifies for the Access Bus and the service cannot always meet demand, the report notes.

"A private taxicab company can offer a more flexible service than publicly operated accessible buses," the committee writes.

The issue right now is cost, Dauphinee said. The committee will look at options about how to license vehicles, possibly providing a financial incentive to purchase vehicles or setting a minimum fare for accessible taxis, she said.

Outhwaite said demand for the service would only increase if it becomes a reality.

"Our population is getting older," he said. "You're going to have more demand in the system."

What, where

The 2008 accessibility plan can be downloaded online at A public meeting is scheduled for Wednesday night at 5 p.m. in the Loyalist Room of City Hall.

October 2007

Click here to download this month's issue.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Parolee charged with murder; Cabbie David Krick died on Father's Day

From the Kingston Whig-Standard Website:

Police believe a Kingston taxi driver was robbed and stabbed to death by a 31-year-old federal parolee with a 10-year history of violent crimes including sexual assault.

On Thursday night, Richard Edmund Smith was arrested at Collins Bay penitentiary and charged with first-degree murder in the Father's Day slaying of Amey's taxi driver David Krick.

The robbery likely netted less than $100.

Krick's brother Raymond, one of four family members who attended a news conference yesterday at police headquarters, thanked detectives.

"I do appreciate all the work you guys have done," Raymond Krick said, speaking to six investigators. "It does give you some closure knowing this guy's not out there now."

Krick's sister-in-law, Robyn Lawlor, said the arrest brings some peace of mind.

"It's been a long wait, a long four months," she said. "It goes from being very upset because of the death to anger."

Smith was free from prison on full parole, although police say he was a high risk to reoffend, at the time Krick was murdered on June 17.

Smith is serving a four-year, eight-month sentence for sexual assault with a weapon, forcible confinement, robbery and other minor offences.

He was convicted in Milton in April 2003 after he forced a woman to perform oral sex on him by threatening her with a knife, according to National Parole Board records.

Smith approached a woman randomly in a doughnut shop parking lot and ordered her into her car, where the attack took place. At one point, he ran the tip of the knife down her back.

"He's been in and out of institutions for a number of years," Det. Sgt. Bill Kennedy said at the news conference yesterday.

Smith has a criminal record dating to 1993 that includes convictions for domestic violence, impaired driving and property crimes, according to the parole records.

They document a pattern of "dysfunctional relationships with vulnerable women."

Smith has admitted being addicted to drugs and pornography.

When he was paroled in May 2005, he was barred from consuming alcohol or drugs or visiting strip clubs. At the time, he was considered a "moderate risk for sexual recidivism and domestic violence."

Two months later, a woman with whom he was having a relationship called his parole officer to report that Smith was abusive, drinking to excess and driving while drunk.

Smith's parole was suspended, but he was released again after the board concluded "it is difficult to see reliable and persuasive information to conclude without any doubt that you had been engaged in the activities that were alleged to have occurred."

Kennedy, who is in charge of the murder probe, would not discuss the evidence that police believe links Smith to the crime.

"I'm not going to comment at all on any of the evidence," he said.

Police have received forensic reports but Kennedy would not discuss the results.

Kennedy said Smith has not made a statement.

"Right now, I believe he's being somewhat quiet," he said.

Smith, dressed in a white shirt and dark wind pants, did not speak at his court appearance yesterday afternoon. He'll be back in court Oct. 30.

On Tuesday, police arrested Smith's common-law wife, Laura Jean Clow, 39, and charged her as an accessory after the fact. She appeared in court Wednesday and will be back in court Monday.

"I'm not going to disclose exactly what her role is in this," Kennedy said. He said Clow does not have a criminal record.

She lives at 117 Carruthers Ave., according to court records, about three blocks east of the spot where Krick's taxi was abandoned the day he was killed.

Smith, who is originally from Hamilton, was arrested by Kingston Police and returned to prison on Aug. 1 for breaching conditions of his parole. At the time, police were investigating him.

Police Chief Bill Closs said there is no reason for Smith to be living in Kingston, except for the presence of eight federal penitentiaries in the area.

"I believe that David Krick would be alive today if Kingston were not the prison capital of Canada, if Corrections Canada could do a better job of rehabilitating people, if Canada did not have a revolving door in and out of the justice system and frankly if the Kingston Police had the ability to monitor what we consider to be violent offenders, sex offenders, 24/7, seven days a week," Closs said.

He said he is often asked what it costs Kingston to host so many prisons.

"It cost David Krick his life," he said. "It cost his family a son, a brother, a nephew."

Closs said the murder investigation has cost taxpayers 4,500 hours in police staff time at a cost of roughly $200,000 and mounting.

"The David Krick homicide demonstrates to the citizens of Kingston that violent offenders walk our streets, they live in our city and ride in our taxis," Closs said.

Long-term studies of crime statistics demonstrate that Kingston has higher rates of violent crime than many large urban centres in Canada.

The city typically has an annual homicide rate that is among the highest in the province.

Investigators do not believe Krick was personally targeted.

"He was just the victim of what we believe to be a robbery," Kennedy said.

A small quantity of cash was taken from the 50-year-old cabbie before he was left bleeding on a sidewalk on Durham Street, about eights blocks from the spot where he picked up a passenger on Wright Crescent just after 6:30 a.m. on June 17.

Krick was stabbed in the chest several times. He was pronounced dead at hospital.

His attacker stole the taxi and drove a meandering route that ended at the An Clachan apartment complex on MacPherson Avenue, just off Van Order Drive.

The killer fled on foot and evaded police who arrived soon after he parked the blood-smeared car.

Kennedy said the investigation is ongoing.

"There could be other people arrested," he said.

Police would not say if they have the murder weapon, although two knives were recovered.

One knife was found in the grass of the apartment complex where Krick's taxi was abandoned.

Children playing outside made the discovery three days after the killing.

The knife was found near a main entrance to the apartment complex, roughly 100 metres from the spot where the cab was left.

Another knife was found on the front lawn of a house several doors away from the spot on Durham Street where Krick was found on Father's Day morning.

Smith is expected to serve remainder of his sentence in federal prison, until it expires Nov. 30, and then will be handed over to Kingston Police. .

In brief

What: Murder of Amey's taxi driver David Krick, 50.

When: June 17, 2007, just before 7 a.m.

Where: Krick was stabbed and left to die on a sidewalk on Durham Street in Kingston, just south of Princess Street.

Developments: On Oct. 11, police charge Richard Edmund Smith, 31, a federal prisoner, with first-degree murder; his common-law wife, Laura Jean Clow, 39, was charged Oct. 9 as an accessory after the fact.

Next: Smith is back in court Oct. 30; Clow returns to court Monday.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Cab stickers a fitting tribute

From the Kingston Whig-Standard Website:

The small, black-and-yellow sticker appearing on the bumpers of Kingston taxi cabs is a fitting tribute to David Krick.

Mr. Krick was stabbed to death nearly four months ago while driving his cab - the victim of a murderer who has continued to elude city police.

Such memorials and tributes have become commonplace in our troubled and violent world, moreso since Canada joined the war in Afghanistan and soldiers started returning home in coffins - more than 70 to date.

Mr. Krick was not a war hero. But he performed a public service that most of us who have day jobs in comfortable, air-conditioned offices will never understand or appreciate.

Driving taxi - especially overnight in a city the size of Kingston - can be dangerous business.

The epitaph at the bottom of the sticker, which was designed by Mr. Krick's family, reads: "Let his spirit ride with you."

Mr. Krick was 50 years old, loved by his family and popular at work. Yet he was left bleeding and dying on a city sidewalk the morning of June 17, the victim of a cowardly and despicable act.

Since then, Kingston Police have had four officers assigned full-time to the case. Tips from the public have dried up. Yet their resolve remains strong.

They suspect the killer had at least one accomplice that morning who helped him elude the police chase - someone who is now withholding information that would see justice done.

We hope that person or persons takes note of the memorial sticker that bears David Krick's name and his car number - No. 71.

We hope it moves them to do the right thing and report Mr. Krick's killer to Kingston Police.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Cabs to test security cameras; Technology used in other Ontario cities

From the Kingston Whig-Standard Website:

Jordan Press
Thursday, August 16, 2007

Local News
- Three Kingston cabs, one each from Modern, Amey's and Kingston and Amherst Taxi, will be equipped with security cameras as part of a test to see how the devices work with drivers and passengers.

The cameras, in use in municipalities such as Toronto, take photographs of passengers inside the vehicles.

The move comes after the killing in June of a Kingston cab driver.

Doug Cox, who chairs the committee looking into the potential safety measures, said the local industry wants to see if the cameras would be cost effective for Kingston.

Also, he said, the committee wants to see how passengers react when they find out they may have their photo taken while in a cab.

"That's why we're taking our time with the cameras and with the rest of the stuff," said Cox, owner of Kingston and Amherst Taxi.

Some passengers may feel uncomfortable, he said. "This is why we've got to be cautious. We've got to take this one step at a time."

The committee gave its recommendations yesterday to the taxi commission, which regulates the local industry. The seven-member commission will have the final say on any measures to be implemented.

Cox said a safety course and any other mandatory safety features will be accepted by the taxi commission in time for license renewal on Oct. 1.

Keeping taxi drivers safe on the job has been a priority for the commission since the killing of David Krick.

The 50-year-old Amey's driver was stabbed to death and left to die on Durham Street in the early hours of June 17. He had picked up a passenger on Wright Crescent shortly before the stabbing.

Fellow drivers and emergency personnel found Krick bleeding to death on the sidewalk. He was pronounced dead in hospital.

Krick was the first homicide in Kingston this year and the first cab driver to be killed on the job.

His killer fled in the cab, parked it at an apartment complex on Sir John A. Macdonald Boulevard and evaded police. Kingston Police are still searching for the killer.

Before yesterday, the only recommendation that was publicly announced was an educational program designed to teach drivers how to be safe on the job.

A 12-member committee, made up of taxi company owners, drivers and members of the taxi commission, has been reviewing what safety measures may be necessary in Kingston. At the moment, Kingston cabs don't have cameras, although Amey's has installed global positioning systems in its cabs.

Results from an industry survey found that drivers were most interested in a safety course, Cox said. Second on the list were cameras in cars, followed by emergency lights on the rear of the vehicle and, finally, protective shields that separate driver from passenger.

The committee received 120 completed surveys.

"The safety awareness is the big issue," Cox said. He said others in the taxi industry across the country told committee members that the majority of the time, staying safe depends on how the driver handles themselves in a dangerous situation.

The cameras were seen largely as a measure to deter dangerous advances on drivers, he said.

"Everybody feels that if something does happen, there will be a picture to show the person in the car," Cox said. That picture would go to police to aid in their investigation.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Man who confronted cabbies in court; Twenty-one-year-old accused of threatening to kill two taxi drivers

From the Kingston Whig-Standard website:

Rob Tripp
Friday, August 03, 2007

Local news
- A man accused of threatening to kill two Kingston taxi drivers was to appear in court today to face charges of uttering death threats.

The incident comes six-and-a-half weeks after a Kingston cabbie was killed by a passenger.

The confrontation happened around 8 a.m. yesterday after an Amey's taxi delivered a woman to a house on Elm Street, where an argument began between the woman and a man.

When the female taxi driver intervened, the man threatened to kill the cabbie. The driver activated a silent panic alarm that alerted other cabbies and they rushed to her aid.

"I was about the third car there," said driver Shelley Scott, who was also one of the first cabbies to arrive after mortally wounded driver David Krick called for help.

"It certainly brought my heart into my throat," Scott said. "It was very reminiscent of June 17."

At least half a dozen taxi drivers arrived at Elm Street within minutes and confronted the agitated man. At one point, he retrieved something from the home and began threatening to stab the cabbies with a sharp object covered by a bandanna.

"It turned out to be a ballpoint pen and he was wielding it like a knife," said Const. Mike Menor of Kingston Police.

The swarm of cabbies contained the man until police officers arrived and arrested him.

The 21-year-old man, whose name was not released, also is charged with breach of probation. He was held in custody until a bail hearing set for this afternoon.

During the confrontation, police say the man threatened to kill another driver.

None of the cabbies was injured.

The 39-year-old driver first threatened yesterday, a veteran Amey's driver, did not want to be identified by name out of fear of retribution.

The assailant also threatened to hunt down and kill her family.

Menor said the man was acting strangely and appeared to be very angry and extremely agitated.

He said police rushing to the scene yesterday had difficulty getting there because the streets were clogged by taxis that had responded to the distress call.

Scott said the incident is a reminder that taxi drivers need action quickly to improve their safety.

"It just seems like we're not being taken seriously," she said.

Most Kingston taxis do not have any safety measures for drivers, save for the panic buttons in Amey's cars, which are equipped with global positioning systems.

After Krick's slaying, the local taxi commission struck a committee to study safety ideas. It will report on Aug. 15.

Kingston Police are still hunting Krick's killer.

The 50-year-old veteran driver was stabbed and left on the sidewalk to die by a male passenger he picked up early on Father's Day morning.

Kingston Police have said they believe the killer has had help in eluding capture.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Man charged for threatening to kill cabbies

From the Kingston Whig-Standard website:

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Local News
- A 21-year-old Kingston man has been charged with uttering death threats after a man threatened to kill two Amey's taxi drivers.

The man was arrested shortly after 8 a.m. on Chatham Street and is being held in custody. He has a bail hearing Friday.

Police say a female cabbie drove a woman to an address on Elm Street, where a confrontation began involving the man. When the cab driver intervened, the man threatened to kill her. The cabbie activated a silent panic button that brought at least half a dozen other cabbies rushing to her aid. At one point, the agitated man wielded a pointed objected that was covered by a bandana, threatening to stab people. It turned out to be a ballpoint pen. He threatened to kill another driver who had arrived to help. Police arrived within minutes and the man was taken into custody. He also is charged with breach of probation.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Cabbies must receive safety training:group; Proposal to be pitched to taxi commission

From the Kingston Whig-Standard website:

Rob Tripp
Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Local news
- Kingston's taxi industry is poised to introduce mandatory safety training for drivers and other measures following the first murder of a city cabbie.

A committee of 12 people comprised of taxi company owners, drivers, and members of the taxi commission has agreed that education should be compulsory.

"Safety education is going to happen," Doug Cox, owner of Kingston and Amherst Taxi and the chair of the committee, said in an interview Monday.

There are no current mandatory safety measures for Kingston cabs and drivers.

The safety committee was established by the commission in late June. The commission is the independent body that regulates the industry. Committee members have been meeting behind closed doors for the past two weeks and have decided on measures to be proposed, Cox said. The seven-member board of the commission will have final say.

Cox expects the education portion will be approved by the commission without problems, since the idea was widely endorsed by the industry. The committee surveyed taxi drivers and owners.

"There's a few other things but I can't really comment right now," he said.

The committee has considered the use of safety shields or partitions, video cameras and other alert systems such as flashing exterior lights.

The education plan is likely to include a safety video and booklet all taxi drivers will be required to review yearly before they are licensed.

Shields and cameras are commonplace in many large cities across North America. Cameras are mandatory in Toronto taxis, where their introduction is credited with dramatically reducing the number of robberies.

The introduction of mandatory partitions in taxis in New York City cut the homicide rate for cabbies from more than 30 per year to almost zero.

Cox would not say which other measures the committee plans to recommend to the commission. The proposals should be made public at the commission's next meeting on Aug. 15.

Commissioner Doug Teeple, who also sits on the safety committee, wants to see all the measures instituted quickly.

"I think it should happen before Christmas," he said.

Teeple, a former cabbie, said the holiday period can be the worst time of the year for drivers who confront drunken and belligerent passengers.

Many taxi operators and drivers have expressed skepticism about the need for partitions or shields in Kingston cabs, even after the killing of Amey's driver David Krick.

The 50-year-old Kingston man died on June 17 after he picked up an early morning passenger on Wright Crescent.

His attacker left him on the sidewalk on Durham Street a few minutes later. He was bleeding profusely from stab wounds to the chest. Krick was pronounced dead in hospital.

Kingston Police are still hunting his killer, who stole his taxi and abandoned it a few blocks away.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Cabbie's killer has had help: police; Investigators await tests on two knives

From the Kingston Whig-Standard website

Rob Tripp
Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Local News
- Police say an accomplice or accomplices have helped the killer of a Kingston cab driver elude capture for more than five weeks.

"I'd be willing to bet my bottom dollar that someone's helped this guy," Det. Sgt. Bill Kennedy said, in an interview yesterday.

Taxi driver David Krick, 50, was left bleeding on a sidewalk on Durham Street early on the morning of June 17, after picking up a male passenger on Wright Crescent, near the YMCA.

Krick was stabbed in the chest several times. He was pronounced dead at hospital.

His attacker stole his taxi and abandoned the blood-smeared car in the parking lot of the An Clachan apartment complex on MacPherson Avenue, just off Van Order Drive.

The killer fled on foot and evaded police who arrived soon after he parked the stolen taxi.

"This guy just disappears into thin air when we're chasing him, so somebody there knows," Kennedy said.

He said he has other information that leads him to believe this.

"There is, but there's nothing I'm going to say about that, that's for sure," Kennedy said.

Investigators remain hopeful that someone will come forward.

"I'm confident that there's people out there who know who the bad guy is, but they're just either, for fear, or lack of a sense of humanity, they just aren't contacting us," he said.

Kennedy also disclosed that police are awaiting forensic tests on two knives.

The Whig revealed last month that a knife was found in the grass of the apartment complex where Krick's taxi was abandoned. Children playing outside made the discovery three days after the killing.

The knife was found near a main entrance to the apartment complex, roughly 100 metres from the spot where the cab was left .

Another knife was found on the front lawn of a house several doors away from the spot on Durham Street where Krick was found on Father's Day morning.

Kennedy said the second discovery was made about a week after the killing, when long grass that hadn't been cut for some time was mowed.

"When they cut the grass, they found this knife," he said.

He could not say why investigators did not find the knife after they cleared the scene.

"I know that we had been [there] and searched that street and other streets, but you know what, who knows, somebody may have thrown it there the day before they cut the grass," he said.

Kennedy said no determination has been made about whether either knife is the weapon used in the fatal stabbing.

"I have no idea," he said. "Not until the testing comes back from the Centre of Forensic Sciences are we going to know."

Testing might not be conclusive, he cautioned, since the knives could have been exposed to rain and dew for days, degrading evidence.

Kennedy said he has a call in to a scientist at the centre, Ontario's central forensic laboratory, to get an update on the work. So far, the centre has not provided any reports.

"That applies to everything that we've got there," he said. "I haven't had word back on any of this stuff.

"It's possible that some of it has been analysed but normally what happens is, they'll send back one report covering all the items we've sent."

Krick is believed to be the first Kingston cabbie killed by a passenger.

His mother, Shirley Krick, is not impatient with the police probe.

"They can only do so much and they're doing the best they can," she said, in an interview yesterday.

"I feel the same way as I did when he got killed," she said. "It's hard to lose a son."

Krick said she still has nightmares about her son's violent death.

"I just wish he was here."

Police have said that they believe the killing was random, since the caller who asked for an Amey's taxi that morning did not request Krick.

Krick activated a silent alarm button at 6:45 a.m., nine minutes after he picked up the fare.

The precise movements of his car were tracked because all of the company's cars are equipped with global positioning units, a form of satellite tracking technology.

A committee of 12 people met yesterday behind closed doors to consider measures that would improve safety for taxi drivers. Ideas ranging from the installation of cameras and partitions to more education for drivers are being considered.

The proposals are expected to be considered by the area's taxi commission in late August.

Taxi driving is the most dangerous legal occupation in Canada, according to Statistics Canada figures.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Taxi driver attacked in apartment building

From the Kingston Whig-Standard website

Friday, June 29, 2007

Local news
- Two teenage girls face criminal charges after a taxi driver was attacked in a north-end apartment building.

Kingston Police said a Modern Taxi driver was dispatched around 12:30 p.m., Wednesday to an apartment building at Cherry and Pine streets where two teenage girls asked him to take them downtown.

When the pair realized they had no money, they asked to be taken back to the apartment building so they could borrow some.

One of the girls went inside and moments later the other followed without paying the $13 cab fare, a news release from police said.

The driver ran after the girls and found them in a hallway and called his dispatcher. As he did this, the release said, the girls kicked and screamed at the cabby and began to fight with him.

One of them tried to bite his arm while the other kicked and scratched him with her finger nails, the release said.

Police soon arrived and arrested both girls, who continued to verbally abuse the officers.

Two 16-year-olds, both from Kingston, have been charged with transportation fraud and assault. One of the girls also faces a breach of probation charge.

Knife found near site where taxi abandoned

From the Kingston Whig-Standard website

Rob Tripp
Friday, June 29, 2007

Local News
- Three days after the killing of a Kingston cab driver, a knife was found in the grass surrounding the apartment complex where the man's taxi was abandoned, the Whig-Standard has learned.

Police have been tight-lipped about their investigation and have not disclosed the finding, made on the evening of Wednesday, June 20.

The senior official in charge of the investigation, Det. Sgt. Bill Kennedy, could not be reached yesterday.

Amey's cab driver David Krick, 50, was left bleeding on a sidewalk on Durham Street early Sunday morning, June 17, after picking up a male passenger on Wright Crescent, near the YMCA.

Krick was stabbed in the chest several times. He was pronounced dead at hospital.

His attacker took his taxi on a circuitous, seven-minute ride through suburban neighbourhoods before abandoning the car in the parking lot of the An Clachan apartment complex on MacPherson Avenue, just off Van Order Drive.

The killer fled on foot and eluded police, who arrived soon after he parked, investigators have said.

The maze-like complex of three-storey apartment buildings houses mostly married, international students attending Queen's University. Several hundred students live there.

Attiya Alatery, a Libyan student who is completing a PhD at Queen's, said he did not see the knife, but saw police and building staff sealing off an area on the northeast side of the building.

"They brought out the yellow [tape]," Alatery said in an interview yesterday.

A fellow tenant explained to him that children found the object.

"He told me his son and other kids, they were playing in the area and they found the knife," said Alatery, who lives in the complex with his wife and two young children.

The building superintendent was notified and police were called. The knife was apparently covered with a pail or bucket to protect it from contamination, although a thunderstorm had soaked the city a day earlier.

The knife was found roughly 100 metres from the spot where Krick's taxi was abandoned and in an area not more than 10 or 15 metres from one of the main entrances to the apartment complex.

It was not hidden in bushes or long grass. The grassy area where it was found is part of a greenbelt that rings the apartments.

Police have said that the suspect was last seen running south through the complex, after abandoning Krick's taxi in the northeast corner of the parking lot that abuts MacPherson Avenue.

That path would have taken the suspect toward the area where the knife was found.

The superintendent of the complex declined to be interviewed.

It's unclear why police have refused to disclose the discovery of the knife, since the finding is now well known among tenants of the apartments.

In murder probes, police usually withhold some information from the public that they believe is known only to the perpetrator, that can be used later to verify an account.

Alatery said all of the tenants received a letter from Queen's assuring them that the suspect is not believed to be a tenant of the buildings.

"[There's] nothing to be scared of," Alatery said they have been told.

The killing of Krick, 50, is believed to be the first slaying of a Kingston cab driver.

Police have said that they believe the killing was random, since the caller who asked for an Amey's taxi .did not request Krick.

Krick activated a silent alarm button at 6:45 a.m., nine minutes after he picked up the passenger on Wright Crescent.

The precise movements of his car were tracked by the Amey's dispatcher because all of the company's cars are equipped with global positioning units, a form of satellite tracking technology.

Police have released a general description of the suspect as a white male, aged 20 to 30, between five foot 10 and six foot two inches tall with a slim to medium build and short hair.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Teenage girls face charges after cabby attack

From the Kingston Whig-Standard Website

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Local News
- Two teenage girls face criminal charges after a taxi driver was attacked in a north-end apartment building yesterday.

Kingston Police said a Modern Taxi driver was dispatched around 12:30 p.m. to an apartment building at Cherry and Pine streets where two girls asked him to take them downtown.

When the pair realized they had no money, they asked to be taken back to the apartment building so they could borrow some.

One of the girls went inside and moments later the other followed without paying the $13 cab fair, a release from police said.

The driver ran after the girls and found them in a hallway and called his dispatcher. As he did this, the release said, the girls kicked and screamed at the cabby and began to fight with him.

One of them tried to bit his arm while the other kicked and scratched him with her finger nails, the release said.

Police soon arrived and arrested both girls, who continued to verbally abuse the officers.

Two 16 year olds, both from Kingston, have been charged with transportation fraud and assault. One of them also faces a breach of probation charge.

Frustrated cabbies want action; But taxi agency sets up committee

From the Kingston Whig-Standard

Rob Tripp
Thursday, June 28, 2007

Local News
- There'll be no quick fix for safety concerns of Kingston taxi drivers.

A week-and-a-half after cabbie David Krick was slain, the agency that regulates the industry in Kingston met yesterday for the first time.

Safety was debated for roughly five minutes during an hour-long meeting, long enough only for the Kingston Area Taxi Commission to set up a 12-member committee to study safety options and report back by mid-August.

"They did that because they'll calm down and then nothing will be done," Derek Barager, a driver and taxi owner said in an interview after the meeting.

Barager and his wife, Amy Wright, who also drives a cab, came to the meeting expecting to hear a discussion about safety measures.

"I thought this meeting was supposed to focus on what happened to Mr. Krick," said Barager, one of about a dozen taxi industry spectators at the meeting.

On Father's Day, the veteran Kingston driver picked up a male passenger on Wright Crescent near the YMCA just after 6:30 a.m. The man stabbed Krick in the chest several times and left him, bleeding on a sidewalk on Durham Street, before stealing his taxi.

Krick, 50, was pronounced dead in hospital. Police have not made an arrest.

"I never considered my job dangerous until now," Wright said. "Now I'm questioning everybody that hops into my cab."

Driver and owner Dennis Keefe, who was appointed to the committee, said he expected some serious debate yesterday.

"It's ridiculous," he said. "I think it should [be] done a whole lot sooner than that."

Amey's taxi company owner Mark Greenwood, who will sit on the committee, said the group has to consider the opinions of drivers and owners, look at what is being done in other communities and talk to suppliers of safety gear.

"I think you need this much time," Greenwood said, in order to make the right decision.

Modern owner Keith Campbell and Amherst owner Doug Cox also are on the committee.

"I think that a safety barrier would have saved Dave Krick's life," said Roy Ambury, a longtime driver and one of three who were standing together and chatting after the commission meeting.

"I'm not voting for it," said driver and owner Lillian Dunlop. "I do not want a barrier."

Seventeen-year veteran driver Ed Vervuuvt said he's made up his mind.

"The barrier is the only surefire way to protect yourself," Vervuuvt said.

Ten years ago, Vervuuvt picked up two nervous young men on York Street. One got in the backseat, the other sat beside him. They pretended that they were waiting for a third man.

Vervuuvt felt what seemed a slight brush or tickle on his neck.

"I was reaching up to scratch and saw the spark and felt the jolt," he said.

The backseat passenger had pressed some sort of electrical stun device on his neck.

Vervuuvt's body spasmed and his arms flailed, striking the front seat passenger in the face.

Startled by the reaction, the would-be robbers fled without taking anything.

Both Ambury and Dunlop were appointed to the safety committee.

Dunlop said shields or barriers that separate drivers from passengers aren't a guarantee of safety and they will curtail personal contact and erode customer service.

Three years ago, Ambury had a close call after a backseat passenger tried to rob him.

"He put his left arm around the front of my neck and held a knife to the back of my neck and demanded my money," Ambury recalled.

The driver pushed the knife away and tricked the man out of the taxi. He escaped with minor cuts to his palm.

Ambury was disappointed that there was no safety discussion yesterday, although he said this might be the best way to handle the issue.

The committee studying safety will meet for the first time July 3. It is scheduled to report to the taxi commission by Aug. 15.


Committee of 12 appointed

The Kingston Area Taxi Commission appointed 12 people yesterday to study possible safety improvements for cabs. They are:

Doug Teeple (from commission)
Linda Wood (from commission)
William Percy (from commission)
Mark Greenwood (Amey's)
Doug Cox (Amherst)
Keith Campbell (Modern)
Merle Harper
Dennis Keefe
Lillian Dunlop
Roy Ambury
Leo Ferneyhough
Debra Timmons

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Cab safety in question following driver's death

From the Kingston Whig-Standard website

Rob Tripp
Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Local news
- The killing of a Kingston cabbie has pushed the issue of driver safety to the top of the industry agenda, says the area's taxi inspector.

Dave Kennedy said he's investigating safety measures being employed in other Ontario cities, in anticipation of an emotional debate in Kingston.

"It's the talk of the town now with what went on," Kennedy said.

The seven-member Kingston Area Taxi Commission meets today for the first time since the murder of David Krick on June 17.

The 50-year-old veteran driver was stabbed to death by a passenger he picked up early Father's Day morning. Police have not made an arrest in what is believed to be the city's first taxi driver killing.

At today's meeting, commissioners will review safety options that are available and are in use in other cities. Cameras will be mandatory in all Ottawa cabs by Jan. 1. They became mandatory in Toronto cabs last year. Cameras and shields are mandatory in cabs in Winnipeg.

Kennedy said he can't find any city in Ontario that has mandated the use of shields, typically plexiglass dividers that separate drivers in some way from backseat passengers.

They are common in large American cities and there is evidence that they dramatically reduce robberies and killings.

No safety equipment is mandatory in Kingston taxis.

"That's something that's never been done," Kennedy said. "We can make it mandatory for everybody to have cameras, but there's going to be a cost issue."

The commission also has the power, he said, to impose surcharges to help pay for new safety equipment.

"It could be something that could be done," he said. "It'd be a big step."

He said he's not sure there's industry support for shields.

Drivers cite concern about losing personal contact with customers and owners are worried about costs and reduced passenger space in small cars.

Other options include flashing lights located on the exterior of a taxi. A driver would activate the lights during an emergency, signalling to anyone who sees the car to call 911.

Safety advocates and researchers say shields and cameras are the best protection for cab drivers.

The chairman of the taxi commission, Ken Matthews, has said he wants to hear from people in the industry before moving ahead with any measures.

Krick's taxi, like all of the roughly 70 Amey's cars, was equipped with a global positioning system that allows the dispatcher to route calls electronically. The system permits the dispatcher to track the car's movement and speed.

Police used the GPS data to reconstruct the taxi's movements that morning, showing that he picked up his passenger at 6:36 a.m. on Wright Crescent, near the YMCA.

Krick was working the most dangerous shift, overnight, even though he was likely well aware of the risks.

He was interviewed by the Whig-Standard two years ago, after the downtown nightclub murder of Justin Schwieg, a 23-year-old Queen's student who was stabbed to death in March 2005 inside AJ's Hangar, since renamed the Ale House.

Krick, interviewed because he had been driving a cab for many years, said Kingston seemed to be experiencing more big-city violence.

"It just seems to be getting worse every year," Krick told the newspaper.

He questioned why party-goers were carrying weapons.

"The police are going to have to start patrolling this area better," he said.

Det. Sgt. Bill Kennedy said tips that might help police solve Krick's killing are still flowing.

"We are getting a number of tips and obviously we have to investigate each and every one of them and that's what we're doing," he said.

He would not say if any of the tips are promising.

Kennedy is the case manager, supervising six investigators who are working on the murder full time.

"There's nothing going on right now that we want to release to the media," he said.

Police are still waiting for forensic test results from Krick's taxi, Amey's car 71.

The blood-smeared vehicle was abandoned at an apartment complex on MacPherson Avenue Sunday morning, 15 minutes after Krick picked up his passenger and was stabbed.

Police arrived at the complex to see a suspect running from the taxi, but he eluded them.

Kennedy said an OPP tracking dog was brought in.

"He didn't lead us to anybody," he said. "I don't think he was able to pick up a trail."

Kennedy said it is a difficult location for a dog to pick up a trail, particularly because the suspect ran through a large asphalt parking lot.

It's believed Krick's slaying was a random act, since he wasn't requested by the caller who asked for a cab on Wright Crescent.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Homicide Investigation

From the Kingston Police Department website:

Kingston Police are requesting the assistance of the public in an ongoing investigation into the murder of taxi driver David Krick. On Sunday, June 17th 2007 (Father's Day) the victim, who was driving Amey's taxi #71, a four-door white Chevrolet Impala, picked-up a fare outside of the YMCA on Wright Cres. at approximately 6:30am.

Between 6:45am and 7:00am the taxi made its way to the area of Durham St near Victoria St. This is where the victim was stabbed and succumbed to his injuries. The suspect, who has yet to be identified, drove away in the stolen taxi. The suspect ended up parking the vehicle in the lot of 19 MacPherson Ave., located off of Sir John A. Macdonald Blvd. He was last seen by police fleeing southbound on foot through the grounds of the An Clachan Complex.

The suspect is roughly described as a white male, 20-30 years of age, 5'10" to 6'2" tall, slim to medium build, short hair. He was possibly wearing a black shirt, jeans and black shoes.

The route taken by the suspect while in the taxi is known to Kingston Police, which is provided in the map below. Anyone who lives or frequents any of the streets marked along the route and believes that they saw the taxi or anything in relation to it are asked to contact the Major Crime Unit at 613-549-4660 or email at You can also call toll-free at 1-888-KPF-TIPS (1-888-573-8477).

Please click here to download a copy of the police bulletin and route map.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A dangerous job, no safety training

From the Kingston Whig-Standard website

Rob Tripp
Saturday, June 23, 2007

Local News
- Veteran Kingston cabbie Gary Buckingham tapped his left eyebrow with an extended first finger.

"I had my face slashed about 18 years ago," he said, pointing to a thin white scar where his brow once gaped open and blood streamed down his face.

He was picking up revellers after a Christmas party. A man became incensed when Buckingham said his car was full and the man would have to wait for another taxi.

The guy flipped out, recalled Buckingham, sitting behind the wheel of Amey's car 22.

"He jumped on top of the car and grabbed the top sign," he said.

The man swung a piece of the plastic sign into the open driver's side window, striking Buckingham above the eye.

"I got out to get at him and he hit me so hard with the door that he knocked me senseless."

The attacker was subdued, police were called and Buckingham was stitched up. Nearly two decades later, he still enjoys driving a cab and is philosophical about the risks, despite the killing of a fellow Amey's driver six days ago, in what is likely the first cabbie murder in Kingston.

"The best self-defence is common sense," he said.

Buckingham avoids "bad addresses" and "bad fares," the people who are known in the industry as troublemakers.

There's no safety training program for cabbies.

"There's just the school of hard knocks," he said.

There are no mandatory safety measures in Kingston taxis. No cars, in any of the city's firms, are outfitted with cameras or partitions, safety gear now prevalent in many big city taxis across North America.

Although assaults and robberies of Kingston cabbies aren't unusual, Buckingham isn't sure new safety measures are needed. The partitions, plexiglass screens that partially or fully separate passengers from the driver, would be costly, he believes.

"It's going to have to come out in [increased] fares and I don't think customers are willing to swallow it," he said.

Some drivers believe partitions and other safety improvements are long overdue.

"Where it stands right now, the taxi industry doesn't [care] about our safety," driver Dennis Keefe said, the day his friend David Krick was murdered.

Krick, 50, a veteran Amey's driver, died on Father's Day, after he was stabbed in the chest several times by a man he picked up on Wright Crescent near the YMCA just after 6:30 a.m.

The murder was foreseeable, said Terry Smythe, a Winnipeg man who has crusaded for cabbie safety.

A retired member of the Manitoba Taxi Cab Board, the agency that regulates the industry in Winnipeg, Smythe said taxi industry leaders and regulators in Kingston should have anticipated such a tragedy.

"It's absolutely shameful that it takes a murder to produce a response," he said.

Safety improvements are shunned, he said, because people in the business don't want to spend the money necessary to protect drivers, who are in abundant supply.

"What [they] get is a relentless supply of people prepared to put themselves in harm's way," he said.

Taxi driving is the most dangerous occupation in the world, he believes.

Numbers from the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics back the claim.

The centre, using police figures, tracks homicides by occupation.

Between 1995 and 2005, 25 Canadian taxi drivers were murdered, more than any other legal occupation.

The second-highest occupational homicide level is among police officers. In the same 10-year period, 18 police officers were killed.

A national study completed in 1996, funded by the Justice Department, found that the victimization of taxi drivers may be 20 times higher than Canadians generally.

Hundreds of drivers were interviewed for the study. More than half indicated that they did not think their employers took seriously enough the risks they face.

The best safety measures, Smythe said, are in-cab cameras and safety shields or partitions. The cameras must be highly visible, to act as a deterrent.

It is easy, he said, for regulators to make the measures mandatory and impose a small, short-term surcharge to pay for them. Both should be installed at the same time.

There's evidence that the measures work.

In Winnipeg, cameras became mandatory in 2002, after a spate of violent attacks on cabbies and murders. Shields became mandatory by 2003. Robberies of cabbies dropped nearly 80 per cent, compared to 2001. There has not been a murder of a Winnipeg cabbie since.

In 1999, Toronto required all cabs to have cameras or global positioning systems.

Assaults and robberies declined significantly. Last year, cameras became mandatory in all Toronto taxis, but a debate about making shields mandatory in all cars is unresolved.

Two Toronto cabbies have been murdered in the past two years.

Almost all cabs and delivery vehicles in New York City have shields or cameras. In the early '90s, before the measures were in place, 30 to 40 New York cabbies were murdered each year. Now murders are rare.

Only Amey's taxis in Kingston are equipped with the global positioning systems that track a taxi's location. Smythe said it is not a safety measure.

"All it tells you is where to find the dead driver," he said.

Since most taxi passengers don't know the cars have GPS, it serves no deterrent purpose, Smythe said.

Kingston Police have said that the GPS information provided by Amey's has been invaluable in tracing the movements of Krick's killer.

The power to impose mandatory safety measures falls to the Kingston area taxi commission, an independent body established by provincial law.

It is overseen by a seven-member board. The commission issues licences and administers tests to drivers.

There are roughly 200 licensed taxis in the area.

Longtime member and chairman Ken Matthews wants to hear what people who work in the industry think should be done.

"I'm a great believer that those who work in the industry know the industry," he said.

The commission meets next week and is expected to discuss safety.

"Everybody's very emotional," Matthews said.

He's not sure there's strong support for the installation of shields.

"The drivers don't want to be boxed in with this plexiglass across the back," he said.

Former taxi driver Doug Teeple, recently appointed to the commission, believes some drivers want the partitions, but overall the local industry does not.

"If they do want them, believe me, I will fight for it," he said.

Mark Greenwood, owner of Amey's, said this is a sad week for the industry, but there's lots of talk about safety.

"I'm willing to look at anything that will make our drivers more secure," he said.

Debby Timmons, who has worked as a dispatcher and driver for roughly 20 years, said new measures are needed.

"I think the shields are great protection, however I don't think the industry here can support that," she said.

She said retrofitting small taxis with shields will limit the number of passengers that can be carried.

She favours a system that allows a driver to lock her two-way radio into the transmit position in an emergency, so that a dispatcher can hear what is happening in the car.

In Barrie, municipal authorities have offered a $50 rebate to all cab owners who install a flashing light on the exterior of the car. It can be activated by the driver in an emergency, signalling to anyone who sees the taxi that the driver needs help.

"I think that's the stupidest thing," said Erwin Giles, owner of Barrie Taxi, the region's largest cab company.

Giles fears that a driver who parks his or her car close to a building and then activates the light will only escalate a confrontation, since the flashing light would be visible to a taxi passenger, particularly at night.

Giles said he's about to test in-cab cameras in two of his taxis.

The cars will be equipped with a three-camera array, including one camera that looks forward out of the taxi.

"I see them as a real great safety measure," he said.

At $1,500 per car, it will cost him $120,000 to equip his 80-car fleet, but he expects he will put the cameras in all cars once the test is done.

The measure comes six years after one of Giles' drivers was murdered.

Gary Newman, a 49-year-old father of four, was stabbed to death after picking up a passenger who called from a phone booth on the outskirts of Barrie late at night.

A 25-year-old man was caught two years later and convicted.

The killing, the second Barrie taxi-driver murder in an eight-year span, did not spark demands for more security, Giles said, since people in the industry understand the risks.

"In this business, you never know," he said.

After Newman's murder in 2001, the company installed a voice-recording system for all incoming calls to the dispatch centre and also installed GPS in all taxis.

Giles said he doesn't believe there's any support for shields.

"Nobody wants them, they're too impersonal," he said. "It takes away the customer service thing."

In Guelph, a city about the size of Kingston, there are no safety measures in taxis.

None of the more than 40 Red Top taxis has shields and just one car has a camera, installed by its owner.

"We don't have a lot of problems," said president Mike Humphries.

Red Top cars also use GPS.

Humphries said they have a practice that they believe is a valuable safety technique. Drivers are instructed to frequently drop money at the office to ensure they carry only a small amount of cash. The fact is well known in the community, to deter thieves seeking a big score.

"The best thing you can do," he said.

Despite the measures, drivers remain targets.

"About two months ago, we had a driver robbed at knifepoint," he said. The driver was not hurt and the robber was caught by police.

Kingston Police are still hunting David Krick's killer.

David Krick murder
Police seek public's help

Anyone with information can call the Major Crime Unit at 613-549-4660; 1-888-573-8477; Email

A map of the route David Krick's car followed is on the Kingston Police website,

Slain cabbie laid to rest; Taxi drivers form cortege to grave site

From the Kingston Whig-Standard website

Ian Elliot
Saturday, June 23, 2007

Local News
- Both of David Krick's families turned out for his funeral yesterday morning.

There was his immediate family in the front row of pews in the Tompkins Funeral Chapel on Colborne Street. Filling the back chairs and the streets around the funeral home was what his sister-in-law, Robyn Lawlor, called his "taxi family," scores of city cabbies who booked off to honour their fellow driver and travel with him to his grave in Elginburg.

Krick, 50, who drove for Amey's, was stabbed to death by a fare he picked up early Sunday morning on Wright Crescent. Most of the city's cab drivers took time out from picking up fares to attend his funeral.

That left the city's streets nearly empty of taxis as vehicles and drivers from all the city's cab companies clogged the streets around the funeral home prior to following the hearse up Division Street shortly before noon.

"This was the right thing to do," said driver Dennis Robinson, who was among many groups of drivers who stood on the street surrounding the funeral home.

"Not everybody is here but most are. Customers are going to have a wait, but I think most are going to understand."

Several of the city's cab companies imposed radio silence for 10 minutes at 11 a.m., the time the funeral began. During that period, as a gesture of respect for Krick, dispatchers did not send out calls.

The feeling of family was evident among the drivers, who spoke candidly of the dangers of their jobs and what they saw as the senselessness of Krick's death.

Statistically, taxi drivers in Canada are more at risk of being killed on the job than police officers. The drivers, many of whom knew Krick, as he had worked as a cabbie for decades, and most of whom have had their own encounters with drunken or violent passengers, said that robbery could not have been a motive.

"It was 7 a.m. in the morning, he wouldn't have had more than $20 or $30 in his float," noted Robinson.

"He wouldn't have had anything."

Longtime cabbie Doug Robinson, the former owner of Kingston and Amherst Taxi Company, said Krick's death was a saddening reminder of the dangers that cab drivers face and that it hit each one personally.

"There's no words to describe it," he said.

"You never know who you're going to pick up. You hope for the best, and there are a lot of good people in the world, but you never know."

Oscar Henault, a war veteran, said cabbies face danger every time they start their shifts.

"I was shot at several times when I was flying and it wasn't as dangerous as this job," he said, taking a drag on a cigarette as he stood outside the funeral home.

"And people wonder why we smoke."

The death hit Henault quite hard as he not only knew Krick but was on duty for Kingston and Amherst on Sunday morning in the same zone as the Amey's driver.

"If he hadn't called the other company, I would have been the one who answered that call," he said.

Doug Cox, the current owner of the Kingston and Amherst company, said drivers are just trying to make a living doing an often-thankless job and few would pass up the chance to pay their respects to Krick, described as a quiet and mild-mannered man who continued to drive a cab because he genuinely enjoyed the job even when he had other jobs.

"These are working guys who are out there just trying to make a dollar," he said.

"We're going to be having some discussions on safety, but that's something we'll be doing in the future.

"Right now it's a time to mourn."

Rev. Terry Deline, who conducted Krick's funeral service in front of an overflowing chapel, called his death "sickening and heart-rending" but pleaded for compassion for the persons responsible.

Kingston Police have not yet made an arrest in the case but say they have suspects.

"The person or persons who did this will carry this on their consciences all the days of their lives," said Deline, who himself drove for Amey's when he was a young man.

"I ask you to pray for them so that they will be free from their murderous, evil ways."

His sister-in-law remembered how much Krick loved his job, and said it added to the tragedy that he died doing what he loved.

Robyn Lawlor thanked police, friends and most of all what she termed the city's "taxi family" for their support over the past week, in a eulogy that caused many of the street-hardened cabbies who attended the ceremony, some in black suits and others in their work clothes, to sniffle and weep openly in the chapel.

"David will continue to ride with each and every one of you," she told the crowded hall, as she herself began to break down.

"God bless each and every one of you."

Police Chief Bill Closs attended yesterday's service and spent several minutes talking with Krick's family in the back of the funeral limousine.

The investigation is a high-profile one for the city force, and he vowed to the family that the case would be resolved, and said afterwards that despite the often contentious relationship between cabbies and city police, the force relies on their eyes and ears.

"A lot of people don't know it, but taxi drivers help us out every single day by reporting things that they see or hear," Closs said.

He said he wanted to show his support for the entire fleet of city drivers, and said whoever was responsible for Krick's death would be brought to justice.

"I wanted to reassure the family, and I will repeat it, that the person or persons who did this will never enjoy another night of rest," he said.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Police seek help; Details released of taxi's route

From the Kingston Whig-Standard website

Rob Tripp
Friday, June 22, 2007

Local News
- A taxi passenger who killed a Kingston cabbie on Father's Day spent 14 and a half minutes from pickup to stabbing to getaway.

A detailed timeline of the killing of cabbie David Krick was released yesterday by police, along with other new details and in concert with an appeal for public help.

Police say they believe the 50-year-old Amey's cabbie was stabbed on Durham Street and left there to die by an attacker who stole his taxi, number 71, a white Chevrolet Impala.

No arrest has been made.

"I'm not going to comment on any suspects at this time," said Det. Bill Kennedy, who is in charge of the investigation.

Until now, police had not said definitively that Krick was stabbed on Durham Street, a short, mostly residential road that is parallel to and just south of Princess Street in midtown.

Kennedy confirmed what the Whig-Standard reported previously, that Krick likely was the victim of a random attack.

"A call comes into the taxi stand and a taxi is dispatched to it and they don't ask for any driver in particular, then you tell me, random, yeah," Kennedy said.

Krick accepted a dispatch at 6:33 a.m. Sunday to pick up a passenger on Wright Crescent near the YMCA. At the time, Krick was at the corner of Sir John A. Macdonald Boulevard and Princess Street.

Another Amey's driver found Krick lying on the sidewalk in front of a home on Durham Street just before 7 a.m. He was bleeding profusely from several stab wounds to his chest.

He was pronounced dead at hospital.

Krick's taxi, smeared with blood on the right rear exterior, was abandoned roughly eight blocks away, at an apartment complex off Van Order Drive, where a suspect fled on foot, eluding pursuing police. The man was last seen by police fleeing south through the grounds of the An Clachan complex, a labyrinth of low-rise buildings on MacPherson Avenue.

Kennedy said police did not pursue the taxi.

"The taxi was parked when we came on it," he said. "There was no chase, there was no pursuit.

"We chased after a man running from it."

Kennedy could not say whether the suspect fled inside the buildings or ran through the complex.

"He disappeared," Kennedy said.

Investigators released a detailed map yesterday that traces the route Krick's taxi took that morning, based on satellite tracking data provided by the cab company.

All Amey's taxis are equipped with global positioning units that monitor location and speed.

The information shows that Krick picked up his passenger on Wright Crescent at 6:36 a.m., then headed east along Park Street to Durham. The trip took more than eight minutes for a relatively short distance.

Kennedy would not say if police have any information to indicate the significance of that time.

"They're just poking along," he said. "Who knows what was going on in the taxi at that time."

Krick pressed an emergency button in his cab at roughly 6:45 a.m., signalling to his dispatcher that he had a problem.

After Krick was stabbed, the suspect headed south on Victoria Street and jogged along other side streets all the way to Union, where he turned around and headed north on College to Brock, where he turned west and headed for the apartment complex.

The circuitous trip took roughly six minutes. If the suspect intended to travel to the apartment complex, he shunned more direct and faster routes.

Kennedy said he can't explain the strange path the taxi followed.

Amey's owner Mark Greenwood has said that his dispatcher was on the phone with police that morning, giving them a turn-by-turn account of the cab's movements.

Police ask that anyone who lives on the streets the taxi travelled, or who frequents the areas and believes they saw the car or has any other information, call them.

Kennedy said the taxi is still undergoing forensic analysis. He could not say how long it will take.

Police released a slightly more detailed description of a suspect; a white male, 20 to 30 years old, between five-foot-10 and six-foot-two tall, with a slim to medium build and short hair. He was possibly wearing a black shirt, jeans, and black shoes.

David Krick was to be buried this morning after a funeral at 11 a.m. in the chapel at Tompkins Funeral Home on Colborne Street.

Can you help?

Kingston Police are asking for public assistance to solve the slaying of cab driver David Krick, 50, who was stabbed to death Sunday.

Tips can be sent to:; call the major crime unit at 549-4660 or toll-free at 1-888-573-8477.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

‘Weekend of knives’ claims cabbie

From the Kingston This Week website

Lynn Rees Lambert
Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Local News
- Call it bloody Sunday.

Kingston Police coped with one of the most violent weekends in recent memory with the murder of a Kingston cab driver, a stabbing inside a shopping mall and a knife-point holdup at a downtown drugstore June 17.

“It was the weekend of the knives,” says Sgt. Bill Kennedy, the lead investigator into the murder of 50-year-old David Krick, who was found stabbed on a mid-city street early Sunday morning.

It was the city’s first homicide of the year.

Kennedy says he cannot ever recall a three-in-one-day crime spree and local cabbies say this is the first time one of their own has been murdered.

The series of unrelated events claimed the life of a veteran Amey’s driver who was mortally wounded and left to die on a Durham Street sidewalk Sunday at about 6:45 a.m.

The murder has plunged the cab company, with about 170 full and part-time drivers, into shock, says Amey’s Taxi owner Mark Greenwood.

“The oldtimers tell me they’ve never lost a cabbie like this.”

Greenwood described Krick as a mild-mannered man who lived with his mother and sister on York Street.

Krick had been driving since he was 19, says Greenwood, describing him as “a good guy. The whole cab industry is in shock, disbelief.”

Police have not determined if the victim was stabbed while in the Impala or outside.

A weapon has not been found.

“The whole thing happened within minutes,” Greenwood explains, “less than about six minutes from the time Dave hit the silent alarm to when other drivers converged.”

Global Positioning System devices were installed last November in all cabs, says the owner.

“When he hit the alarm, our dispatcher was able to track the car in real time.” And, he says, “since there are more taxis out there than police cars, our cabs zoomed in.”

Fellow cabbies found Krick, bleeding on the ground on Durham Street, near Princess and Victoria streets.

His car had been stolen. Police arrived seconds later.

Krick was taken to Kingston General Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Meanwhile, other police officers were guided by Amey’s dispatcher Ken Osborn, who informed police “where the car was, where it was turning, idling and where it stopped,” explains Greenwood.

Police tracked the stolen vehicle to Van Order Drive where they saw a suspect abandon the car and run into an apartment complex to allude police.

“Ken’s actions are to be commended,” says Greenwood, “as are the actions of all our drivers who responded.”

The incident has severely shaken the employees.

“This was horrific,” Greenwood says of the scene Krick’s fellow cabbies found.

Grief counsellors are going into the office Wednesday for assistance, he adds.

Sgt. Kennedy says the investigation has not revealed a motive for the slaying. A few tips have come in but police have not laid any charges.

“It was quite early Sunday morning,” he says, meaning the streets were quiet and few witnesses were out.

Police have not released a detailed description of the suspect who fled from the stolen cab. They describe him only as a young white male, who is tall and slim.

Police ask that anyone with information about the crime to call the station at 613 549-4660 or call Crime Stoppers at 613 634-8477.

At Amey’s Taxi, “our efforts are toward supporting the family,” says Greenwood. “We are taking donations for Mrs. Krick, as Dave helped his mother.”

Drugstore clerk held at knifepoint

The violence continued the same day when a Shoppers Drug Mart employee was held up at knifepoint and held hostage in a back room.

The incident began at 11:30 a.m., June 17, at the drug store at 136 Princess St. when a woman walked an employee at knifepoint to a safe in a back room. The employee opened the safe and the accused rummaged through the contents. The robbery was interrupted by another employee.

The accused grabbed a quantity of pills and fled. Staff called 911. Patrol officers found the suspect at Queen and Bagot streets where she had just swallowed a quantity of unknown pills.

Officers recovered the knife used in the incident and two bottles of pills. The accused was taken to KGH where she was treated and released back to police custody.

A 42-year-old woman was charged with robbery, forcible confinement, possession of a dangerous weapon, assault with a weapon, and two counts of breach of undertaking.

Man stabbed at mall

Later that day, at about 3:45 p.m., a verbal exchange between two men inside the Cataraqui Town Centre led to a stabbing.

Police say the suspect, armed with a six-inch steak knife, stabbed the victim near the Tim Hortons shop. The victim walked away from the mall bleeding from the abdomen while the accused wandered through the mall “bragging and laughing that he had just stabbed someone,” according to police.

Regional ambulance was called to the scene. The victim’s injuries were not life threatening.

The accused was quickly located.

A 22-year-old Kingston man was charged with assault with a weapon, possession of a dangerous weapon, carrying a concealed weapon and two counts of breach of probation.

In Memoriam

KRICK, David Wayne

Amey's Taxi Driver - Suddenly, on Sunday, June 17, 2007 in his 51st year. David was the loving son of Shirley (nee Lisqum) and the late Norman Krick. Beloved brother of Raymond and his wife Robyn, and Brenda. He will be sadly missed by his niece Cheryl and nephew Justin. Friends will be received at the CENTRAL CHAPEL of the GORDON F. TOMPKINS FUNERAL HOMES, 49 Colborne Street (at Clergy) on Wednesday from 7 - 9 p.m. and Thursday between the hours of 3 - 5 and 7 - 9 p.m. The Funeral Service will be held in our chapel on Friday at 11 a.m. Interment to follow at Glenhaven Memorial Gardens. Memorial donations for those wishing may be made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Attack on cabbie likely random

From the Kingston Whig-Standard website

Rob Tripp
Thursday, June 21, 2007

Local News
- A Kingston cab driver who was murdered by a passenger likely was the victim of a random attack and was not targeted, the Whig-Standard has learned.

David Krick, 50, was left bleeding on a sidewalk on Durham Street early Sunday morning, after picking up a male passenger on Wright Crescent, near the YMCA.

Krick was stabbed in the chest several times. He was pronounced dead at hospital. Police have not made an arrest.

The newspaper learned that the caller who requested a taxi did not ask for Krick or his car, No. 71, by number.

Regular taxi users sometimes request a favourite driver or car. If Krick had been requested, it might have indicated he was being targeted.

Kingston Police have said little about the progress of their investigation, except that they have suspects.

Krick activated his meter at 6:44 a.m. Sunday and within a few minutes pressed a silent alarm button that notified a dispatcher that he was in trouble.

The precise movements of his car were tracked by the Amey's dispatcher because all of the company's cars are equipped with global positioning units, a form of satellite tracking technology.

The Whig also learned that before the Amey's dispatcher could call police, police called the cab company because they had received a 911 phone call.

It's unclear who placed the 911 call. Police have not disclosed that the call was made.

It appears that Krick was forced out or escaped from his taxi on Durham Street, where he ended up lying on the sidewalk in front of a private home, bleeding from his stab wounds.

His attacker took the cab and drove west, abandoning the car at an apartment complex on Van Order Drive and fleeing on foot. He eluded pursuing police officers.

Blood was smeared around the right rear passenger side of the car and around the right rear window. Several bloody fingerprints could be seen on the taxi.

The car is undergoing forensic examination.

Krick was found on Durham Street by another taxi driver.

All of Amey's cabs are notified when a driver presses the emergency button.

Amey's owner Mark Greenwood would not name the driver who found Krick. The man is off work, traumatized by his experience.

"We've got grief counsellors coming in," Greenwood said yesterday. Some affected staff have said they will accept the firm's offer to see a counsellor.

Krick may be the first taxi driver murdered while on duty in Kingston, although it is not a rare occurrence across Canada.

According to Statistics Canada, 11 taxi drivers were murdered between 2001 and 2005, while 10 police officers were murdered on duty in the same period.

Krick will be buried tomorrow in a public funeral being held at the chapel at Tompkins Funeral Home on Colborne Street, beginning at 11 a.m.

Visitation began yesterday and continues today between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Early yesterday, Krick's mother Shirley, 70, was steeling herself for the events to come.

"I just dread going over to that funeral home," she said. "My baby's over there."

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

'Everyone's been so great'; Family prepares to bury driver with killer at large

From the Kingston Whig-Standard website

Rob Tripp
Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Local news
- Police are searching for clues to the killer of a Kingston cab driver in the victim's taxi.

The blood-smeared car was found roughly eight blocks away from David Krick, 50, who was murdered early Sunday morning.

Brenda Krick, the victim's sister, said the family has been told by police that "the car is being sent for high-tech forensic investigation."

Police have told them little else about the investigation, except that they have suspects, she said.

It is typical in a homicide probe that investigators would attempt to find hairs, fibres and organic material in a vehicle that that might later provide a DNA match to a suspect or lead to a suspect during the investigation.

The Amey's cabbie picked up a single male passenger on Wright Crescent just before 6:45 a.m. Sunday. A few minutes later, Krick activated a silent alarm that notified his dispatcher of an emergency.

Minutes later, Krick was found lying on the sidewalk in front of a home on Durham Street, bleeding profusely from several stab wounds to his chest.

He was pronounced dead at hospital.

His taxi was apparently stolen by his attacker and abandoned at an apartment complex on Van Order Drive.

Because the car was equipped with satellite tracking technology, its movements were monitored by staff at the Amey's dispatch centre. A detailed report showing the car's route that morning, speed and stops was given to police by the taxi company.

Police followed the car to the apartment building but a suspect eluded them on foot.

Blood smears and bloody fingerprints were visible on the rear passenger side of the taxi. It's unclear if Krick was stabbed in the car.

It is likely that forensic investigators are looking for blood throughout the vehicle and attempting to extract a DNA profile from the blood on the car's exterior.

Brenda Krick wonders if the bloody fingerprints belong to her brother, indicating perhaps that he was stabbed while he was outside the car, on the passenger side.

"Maybe the guy got mouthy with my brother, my brother wanted him to get out, he stopped the car and went around to that side," she said. Krick said the body was released to the Tompkins Funeral Home on Colborne Street late Monday and the family has made arrangements for services.

Visitation will be held today from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., tomorrow from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

A funeral that is open to the community will be held at 11 a.m. Friday .

"David's got lots of cab driver friends," his sister said. "I don't think I want to keep anything private."

He will be buried near his father at Glenhaven Memorial Gardens, precisely eight years after his father Norman's death by heart-related problems.

"We're burying my brother on the day that my father died," Krick said.

She said the loss may be just hitting her mother.

"I imagine it will be between seven and nine when the reality hits," she said. "She keeps looking out the window, waiting for him to come home."

Krick said the family is grateful for all of the support it has received.

"The lady whose house David was found in front of, she dropped off a vase of flowers and was saying she just had to do something," she said. "Everyone's been so great."

Krick, who had been driving a taxi since he was 19 years old, also worked at Benson Autoparts. He was a member of Legion Branch 9 in Kingston. He played golf, pool, darts and euchre.

He was described by his boss at Amey's Taxi as a "wonderful guy."

Police have not indicated any motive in his murder.

The death of a cabbie

From the Kingston Whig-Standard website

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

- Kingstonians have just been tragically reminded that being a taxi driver is a very dangerous job. David Krick was slain Sunday, and as of this writing, no arrest had been announced.

Think, for a moment, about what a taxi driver does for a living. Your job includes stopping to offer rides to people whose identities you probably do not know, or picking people up at addresses with which you might not be familiar, or delivering them places you might well never consider going yourself.

Unless there's evidence to the contrary, when strangers get into your cab you are forced to assume that: a) they have the money to pay for their ride; b) they are not high on drugs or alcohol; c) they are not mentally ill; and d) they have not chosen your taxi expressly in order to rob or harm you. These are big assumptions.

Now add to this mix some other facts: that much of your interaction will be with more than one passenger at a time, thereby leaving you outnumbered; and that this interaction will often occur at night or during the early morning hours when there isn't a lot of help at hand if anything does go wrong.

Given all these circumstances, it almost seems a miracle taxi drivers in Kingston aren't seriously harmed more often.

Certainly, they have been assaulted and robbed. This newspaper carried a small "sampler" list yesterday of violent incidents involving taxi drivers, including one being robbed at knifepoint, another assaulted with a BB gun and yet another attacked by a drunk. Still, the death of David Krick may be the first murder of a cab driver in Kingston.

To the extent that it was possible to offer security, his company and peers did. There was an alarm button in Krick's cab, and there was satellite tracking. Other cab drivers, alerted quickly that one of their own was in distress, rushed to where the car had been to help search for the driver. When Krick was found, a cabbie administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation while police tried CPR. Heroic gestures - just too late.

Discussion in days to come will centre not only on catching the culprit and finding out why the stabbing occurred, but on further safety measures that may be feasible for taxi-cabs, if any.

In the meantime, we mourn a man described by his friends and family as a "wonderful guy" who "wasn't a fighter."

And we'll think twice and feel a little extra appreciation when a lone cab driver responds to our calls for a ride late at night or in the very early hours of the morning.