It’s been two-and-a-half years since Galeeb Abau-Jabeen lost control of the Honda Civic he was driving on Bloor Street East at Parliament Street, resulting in the death of a friend and critically injuring another.
Now, a jury must decide if the 26-year-old’s criminal negligence was to blame for the deadly single vehicle crash.
“This case is about danger and about risk. Mr. Abau-Jabeen’s driving that night showed a wanton disregard for the lives and safety of others,” Crown Attorney Sean Doyle told the jury at the start of the trial on Tuesday.
Doyle told jurors that Abau-Jabeen was driving eastbound on Bloor Street on Nov. 28, 2016 where the speed limit was 40 km/h. Abau-Jabeen had a G2 licence, which meant he was not allowed to drive if he had any alcohol in his system.
He told the jury they will hear from three people who saw Abau-Jabeen travelling eastbound along Bloor Street just before the crash.
Doyle said one will testify she thought he was doing about double the speed limit. He said the woman’s friend will testify she thought the car was going about 100 km/h, in and out of traffic, and told her friend “she hoped the car got pulled over.” Doyle said a third witness will tell the jury he saw the car pass him eastbound on Bloor doing about 100 km/h. That witness will also testify how he watched as the car lost control and slid sideways across Parliament Street knocking out a traffic light and crashing into a concrete wall.
The first officer to arrive at the scene Sgt. Christine Donaldson testified that at 9:55 that night, she heard the call on her police radio for a serious single-vehicle collision. She said she was driving along Bloor Street and arrived at the crash scene to find Abau-Jabeen on his knees in the driver’s seat facing a female in the rear passenger seat who was gurgling, adding she “obviously very seriously injured.”
Another passenger who was seated in the rear was slumped over next to her in the rear showing “no signs of life.” Unable to open the rear door, Abau-Jabeen punched a hole in the window.
Donaldson testified Abau-Jabeen was “highly agitated and hysterical and very difficult to deal with.” She said she also noticed a moderate odour of alcohol coming from his breath. Two bottles of rum, including what Donaldson referred to as a “mickey,” were also found in the sedan. One of the bottles was half full and the other was empty.
Twenty-five-year-old Mohammad Mohammad and 20-year-old Elif Gozgoz, both passengers in the rear of the vehicle, were rushed to hospital where Mohammad was pronounced dead. Gozgoz suffered spine and head injuries, but she survived.
Abau-Jabeen pleaded not guilty to both counts and has been out on bail since shortly after the fatal crash. A female passenger who was in the front seat next to Abau-Jabeen who suffered only minor injuries is also expected to testify. The trial continues.