Advertisement

Driver charged in fatal Toronto hit-and-run spends 30th birthday behind bars

Suspected hit-and-run driver celebrating 30th birthday behind bars
WATCH ABOVE: Catherine McDonald has more on the court appearance of Khaled Saleh Bin Rbaa, who is accused of striking motorcyclist Peter Mackenzie in Toronto and fleeing the scene.

Khaled Saleh Bin Rbaa waved to a half a dozen friends from the prisoner’s box in a Scarborough court on Tuesday where he appeared on charges in relation to a fatal hit-and-run.

Bin Rbaa, a refugee from Yemen, may have been somewhat upbeat because he’s celebrating his 30th birthday despite the fact he’s charged with failing to stop causing death and criminal negligence causing the death of 55-year-old Peter Mackenzie.

It was on June 14 at around 6 a.m. when Toronto police alleged Bin Rbaa, who was driving a blue four-door Hyundai Accent, struck the motorcycle that Mackenzie was driving in the intersection of Danforth Road and St. Clair Avenue East. Mackenzie died at the scene.

READ MORE: Male motorcyclist in his 50s dead after hit-and-run in east-end Toronto

Bin Rbaa’s bail hearing was put over until Friday, but the victim’s son and family friend who came to watch the proceedings are not happy about the prospect of the accused being released on bail.

Story continues below advertisement

“I’m really glad that the police did their job to catch the guy, but it doesn’t help Peter’s family any … it takes one per cent of the anger away, “ said Caroline Grigjanis outside court, who identified herself as a 35-year family friend.

Bin Rbaa was arrested at his apartment on Pharmacy Avenue on Thursday, a week after investigators made an appeal to the public to help locate the vehicle and the driver involved in the fatal collision. Police described the suspect’s vehicle as a 2006-2010, four-door Blue Hyundai Accent which may have sustained damage to the front or right side of the vehicle.

Police also announced the vehicle believed to be involved had been recovered.

Mackenzie’s son left court almost immediately after the brief appearance. He said his dad worked for the City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation department but could not comment further.

Grigjanis said Mackenzie, a husband and father of two, will be missed by his family, friends and the Scarborough neighbourhood where he lived.

“He was everybody’s mechanic. He was everybody’s body guy. He would do household renovations. There’s nothing that Peter couldn’t do,” she said.

READ MORE: Toronto traffic fatalities trigger renewed calls for safer streets

Story continues below advertisement

Wiping away tears, Griganis said Mackenzie was on his way to work the morning he was killed and was always careful riding his motorcycle.

“Peter was a very confident driver. Peter never did anything wrong on his bike. It’s everybody else out there that needs to watch themselves and how they drive,” she said.

A friend of Bin Rbaa’s, who did not identify himself, said the accused has no family here in Canada.

“He’s an innocent person. What happened is an accident,” he said.

Mackenzie’s death was the 33rd fatal collision of the year on the streets of Toronto.