Alyshah Hasham Staff Reporter,
It was the loud crack of wood that first alerted cab driver Adib Ibrahim that he’d struck a man longboarding by the passenger side of his vehicle on King St. E, Ibrahim testified at his second-degree murder trial Thursday.
Ibrahim, 43, has pleaded not guilty to intentionally running over and fatally injuring 28-year-old longboarder Ralph Bissonnette at 6 p.m. on May 14, 2012.
In his opening address to the jury, Crown Hank Goody said witnesses saw words spoken or exchanged between Ibrahim and Bissonnette in the moments before Ibrahim sharply swerved towards the longboarder straddling the passing and curb lanes.
Bissonnette struck the cab with his hand one or more times, witnesses said.
The collision was captured on surveillance video that has been shown to the jury.
Taking the stand in his defence, Ibrahim testified that he did not see Bissonnette as he changed from the passing lane to the curb lane.
He also did not hear the sound of anyone hitting the cab or anyone yelling. Ibrahim also denied trying to kill, hit or scare Bissonnette.
“I heard wood break, loud noise and then I just, I just couldn’t do anything. I was shocked. I couldn’t even lift my leg off the gas it happened so fast. I wanted to stop, I wanted to steer but it just happened so fast,” he said.
Ibrahim, who came to Canada from Ethiopia in 1988, testified in English with occasional assistance from a Harari interpreter.
When the car stopped on, partially on the sidewalk, Ibrahim said he got out of the silver Ambassador cab.
“I saw him, I ran back to car and picked up the phone and I call 911,” he said. He stopped and wiped tears from his face with his shirt sleeve. In the public gallery of the courtroom, his wife and another family member were also crying.
you call 911?” his lawyer Peter Thorning asked.
“I didn’t know, I didn’t know…” Ibrahim said, unable to finish his sentence.
The judge ordered the court to break for lunch.
Ibrahim testified that he was heading westbound and planned to turn on Jarvis St. and head towards Shuter Ave. and Parliament St. to do his evening prayers at a mosque there.
Shortly before the collision, Ibrahim said he moved from the curb lane to the passing lane on King St. E to go around a car making a right turn. It was as he was changing back into the curb lane that he hit Bissonnette, he testified.
Thorning showed Ibrahim a series of photographs taken every five to 15 seconds on cameras inside of the cab.
Ibrahim testified that the passenger-side windows remain closed and that at no point in the photos in the lead up to the collision does he appear to be having an altercation or argument or a reaction to pounding on the car.
In the last image of Ibrahim, taken in the seconds before the collision, his head appears to be facing forward, looking at the road ahead.
The trial continues with Ibrahim’s cross-examination on Friday.