Driver charged in Brandon crash that killed 15-year-old cyclist
Car travelling twice speed limit: police
POLICE have charged a 24-year-old Brandon man in the death of a 15-year-old
boy who was struck by a car while cycling in the northwest area of the
western Manitoba city in early October.
Police said at the time that authorities expected charges would be laid
against the driver, who remained at the scene after the collision and
waited for police and emergency responders.
Antoine Sutherland, a Vincent Massey High School student, was killed in the
The driver, who was not hurt, is facing a charge of dangerous operation of
a motor vehicle causing death.
Brandon Police Service public information officer Sgt. Kirby Sararas told
the Brandon Sun that fatal collision investigations can be lengthy. Once
completed, police consult with a Crown attorney who then must go before a
review panel for charges to be determined.
“It is a process, it does take time and then of course the investigation
itself is very technical,” Sararas said.
The investigation by the BPS traffic section, forensic identification unit
and a collision analyst determined that the vehicle was travelling more
than twice the speed limit when the cycling youth was hit just before 5
p.m. on Oct. 5. The boy was heading north on McDiarmid Drive when he was
struck by the vehicle travelling westbound on Victoria Avenue, a main
artery in Brandon.
He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Sararas said a collision analyst uses forensic mapping devices and computer
software to investigate collisions, and data pulled from a black box or
data recorder in the vehicle is used to obtain information including airbag
activation, speed and brake application.
“The investigation itself takes a bit of time to ensure that we’ve got all
the right pieces in place before we send it to the Crown,” she said.
A sacred fire and walk in memory of the teen, who was of Indigenous and
Ethiopian descent, were held the weekend following his death.
A pedestrian corridor was installed at the intersection in 2022. A safety
review three years earlier found that daily traffic counts at the
intersection saw approximately 18,000 vehicles and 780 pedestrians and
recommended that a pedestrian corridor be installed at any intersection
where traffic volume exceeds 9,000 vehicle movements.
The driver was released after his arrest and is scheduled to appear in
Brandon court on Feb. 26.
— Brandon Sun
Warm weather prevents engineers from assessing structural integrity
Probe of bridge at The Forks on hold
MILD weather has delayed efforts to assess the structural integrity of The
Forks Historic Rail Bridge, which has remained closed for months with no
reopening date in sight.
The former railway structure, which allows pedestrians and cyclists to
cross the Assiniboine River from South Point Park to The Forks, has been
closed since an assessment in June revealed potential safety issues, The
Forks North Portage chief executive officer Sara Stasiuk told the Free
“We are doing some pretty extensive investigations with engineers to find
out what exactly is wrong with it,” Stasiuk said, speaking Dec. 22, after
an unrelated announcement.
“It is kind of deemed not safe at the moment and we need to look at the
structural steel and concrete to see what exactly the issue is and what our
solutions might be.”
While the initial assessment is expected to be completed this winter, the
work cannot begin until the river ice below freezes solid, allowing
engineers and equipment to access the underside of the bridge.
At this point, the extent of required maintenance is unknown, Stasiuk said.
“There is the potential that it could be closed for a long time and that
the work is very expensive and extensive.”
The Forks first alerted the public to the Winnipeg bridge’s indefinite
closure in social media posts June 5, but it has not released subsequent
updates, frustrating some active transit proponents.
“You’d think they would actually be more forthcoming and give at least some
proper notice or knowledge to people about what is going on, letting people
know where they are at with it and how long it’s going to take,” said Tim
Woodcock, owner of Woodcock Cycle Works.
“Even if they don’t have all that completely, just some communication would
be helpful because it is a main artery for people commuting. Whether by
walking or cycling, that’s a very popular route to get through to St.
Boniface or vice versa.”
The lack of information highlights a disparity between cyclists and
motorists, Woodcock said, asserting the latter receives regular updates
when traffic routes are disrupted.
Cyclists and pedestrians who are familiar with the bridge have found
alternative routes in the interim, but newcomers or visitors to the city
might find themselves stranded — particularly if they rely on cycling maps
provided by the City of Winnipeg, which still present the bridge as an
active route, Woodcock said.
“It’s pretty straightforward, things do wear out and (The Forks is) doing
it for people’s safety, well, come out and say that,” he said. “You might
wonder why people get upset about it… but when there is no information
whatsoever, it opens it up to speculation and people look at it in more of
a negative light than it needs to be.”
Such speculation includes a belief among some in the cycling community the
closure was possibly influenced by the May 31 collapse of an elevated
walkway at Fort Gibraltar that sent 17 people to the hospital, Woodcock
The Forks has repeatedly said the Historic Rail Bridge inspection was routine
and unrelated to the incident at the nearby site.
Stasiuk acknowledged the impact of the closure and offered assurances that
further updates and information will be released to the public as they are
“It’s a huge impact. It’s super frustrating and disappointing for active
transportation,” she said. “We recognize that it’s a huge deal, but safety
Construction on The Forks Historic Rail Bridge began in 1913, placing it
among a raft of aging local structures that continue to carry pedestrians
and traffic despite being more than a century old. Others include the
Redwood/ Harry Lazarenko Bridge (1907-08), Louise Bridge (refurbished for
automobile traffic in 1910) and Elm Park Bridge (1912-13).
The Arlington Bridge (1910-12) closed indefinitely Nov. 21, due to safety
concerns relating to its structural integrity.
That closure has been similarly disruptive for cyclists and pedestrians
travelling in the northwest region of the city, Bike Winnipeg executive
director Mark Cohoe said.
“The deciding factor for somebody who is considering cycling is not the
best part of the ride, but the worst part,” Cohoe said. “The city is
working to close those gaps… but as we close those gaps, it’s obviously
critical that we don’t open new gaps — and these are both two new gaps.”
Cohoe said if the rail bridge assessment identifies the need for extensive
reconstruction, he would like to see the city pitch in to help The Forks
cover the expense and ensure the active transit “thoroughfare” is not
— with files from Jura McIlraith