Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Cabbie's killer at large; Taxi picked up male passenger near YMCA

From the Kingston Whig-Standard website

Rob Tripp
Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Local News
- Kingston Police are hunting a single male taxi passenger who was picked up on Wright Crescent early Sunday morning and is the likely killer in what may be the city's first murder of a cabbie.

David Krick, 50, an Amey's driver, was stabbed in the chest and left to die early Sunday morning on a sidewalk on Durham Street.

Police officers, paramedics and other cab drivers who found the unconscious man lying on the cement and bleeding profusely, tried in vain to save him. He was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Krick's blood-smeared, stolen taxi was recovered about eight blocks away after a suspect apparently eluded pursuing police.

Police have released few details about the case, but the Whig-Standard learned that the veteran driver picked up a single male passenger on Wright Crescent, near the Kingston YMCA.

Krick went to an address on the street, believing he was picking up a passenger at a private home. Cabbies are wary of picking up fares off the street, particularly late at night or in the early morning. In this case, it appears Krick was tricked, apparently by a call made from a payphone, perhaps at the Kingston Centre across Bath Road, easily accessible to Wright Crescent through the parking lot of the YMCA.

Krick turned on his taxi meter at 6:44 a.m.

A minute or two later, he pressed a silent alarm button in his cab, alerting a dispatcher that he was in trouble.

Amey's drivers on duty received a text message on an electronic screen in every car, which is equipped with a satellite tracking and dispatch system.

Amey's driver Shelley Scott was in car 19 at the Loblaw's store in the Kingston Centre when she saw the message.

"It said, 'All drivers, please look for an injured driver at Victoria and Park streets area,' '' Scott recalled yesterday.

She used her two-way radio to ask the dispatcher for more details. She was told the driver's car was stolen and he was likely seriously hurt.

The dispatcher continued to track Krick's car, using the satellite technology, said Mark Greenwood, owner of Amey's.

The car had headed east from the pickup on Wright Crescent to Durham Street, then circled back and headed west toward Van Order Drive.

"My dispatcher was on the phone with the police saying, 'The car is still moving, it's turning on this street, it's turning on that street,' so the police caught up with the car," Greenwood said.

At the same time, Scott was scouring the Victoria Park neighbourhood, as were other taxis and police cars.

"It was scary because he wasn't in his car, you know, we were looking for someone on the side of the road, in a yard, you know, I wasn't sure," Scott said.

She was a block away when the dispatcher, who she said remained remarkably calm, notified drivers that Krick was found on Durham Street, a short residential road parallel to and one block south of Princess Street.

Scott rushed to Durham and jumped from her cab.

She saw Krick lying on his side on the sidewalk in front of a neat white bungalow at 14 Durham St.

"There was quite a bit of blood, he was unconscious and it took me a few minutes ... to collect myself. I was rather emotional and there was an officer there, I believe, at that point," she said.

Scott said in the surge of emotion and the frenzy of events, some details are lost to her.

She told the police officer she knew CPR. The officer began doing chest compressions while she did mouth-to-mouth on Krick, trying to give him breaths of life, through her tears.

"I was doing what I could to help," she said. "It seemed like forever, but I bet it was only a couple of seconds, or a minute or something, and the ambulance arrived and [paramedics] took over."

Scott said cab drivers and police had co-operated to quickly find the injured man.

"I would have wanted someone to go looking for me if it was me and I would have wanted someone to do whatever it took to help and that's all I did," she said, modestly, of her efforts to save him.

At the same time that rescuers worked on Krick, a police officer followed the stolen taxi cab to an apartment complex on Van Order Drive.

"I guess they came behind him and he jumped out of the car and ran into the building there and they lost him in the building," Greenwood said, noting it is an old and strangely designed complex. Sgt. Bill Kennedy told the Whig-Standard on Sunday that an officer saw a man flee from the vehicle. He did not explain how the suspect got away. Police have not released any description of the suspect.

"We are closing in on a number of suspects," Kennedy told the Whig yesterday, declining to say how many or if there was a top suspect. "I'd hate to see the guy know we're coming for him."

Following an autopsy yesterday, Kennedy confirmed Krick's death resulted from multiple stab wounds. No weapon has been recovered and police haven't determined a motive.

"It's a lot of information to absorb and we still have a lot of people to talk to before we put this all together," Kennedy said.

Krick, who was unmarried and childless, lived with his mother in a duplex on York Street. Family gathered there yesterday to comfort his mother, who is still coming to grips with the sudden loss of one of her three children.

"It is a hard thing to take," said Shirley Krick, 70, standing on the stoop of her home, flanked by a daughter and a daughter-in-law. "This is so senseless," said the victim's sister, Brenda Krick. "There's no meaning at all."

"Tomorrow will be sheer anger," added Robyn Lawlor, a sister-in-law of the slain man. Lawlor is married to Krick's brother, Raymond.

Brenda Krick said her 17-year-old son, Justin, is very upset over the death of his uncle.

"He's really taking it hard," said Krick, 47, whose other child, 23-year-old Cheryl, is making arrangements to return to Kingston from Calgary for her uncle's funeral.

The family has been told it could be tomorrow or Thursday before the body is released to them. Because of the delay, they have not been able to make firm plans for a memorial service or funeral, although they say that a public event likely will be held.

In the meantime, they are left to grieve and speculate.

They note that at this time of the year, when students are mostly gone from the city and the taxi business slows, David would have had a small amount of cash in his cab, a paltry motive for murder.

"He wasn't a fighter," the elder Krick said of her son. "I think [the killer] just wanted the car."

"We don't know," said Lawlor, 43.

Brenda Krick said she hopes the perpetrator is caught soon.

She was thankful for the kindness of Amey's owner Mark Greenwood, who picked up the family Sunday morning and drove them to the hospital.

She said she was told that her son was stabbed several times in the chest, with one injury striking his heart.

"We all feel for Dave's family," Greenwood said. "He was a wonderful guy and he's driven cab since he was 19 and he was a really nice guy."

Everyone in his company and throughout the taxi industry is saddened and shocked, he said.

In addition to driving a taxi on weekends, Krick also worked at Benson Autoparts.

Shelley Scott was back behind the wheel of her cab Sunday and yesterday.

"I found sitting at home I was more upset than being busy," she said.

"How many passengers do we pick up in a day that are really just wanting a ride and are the sweetest people and kind and considerate," Scott said. "I needed to get back out and meet those people and make sure that all was right with the world on some level."


- With a file from Brock Harrison

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