Skateboarder's traffic death leads to murder charge
A Toronto taxi driver has been charged with murder following the death of a 28-year-old skateboarder who was struck by a cab, police announced on Tuesday.
Ralph Bissonnette, 28, of Toronto, died after being struck near King and George Streets in the east end of downtown Toronto, shortly before 6 p.m. on Monday.
Paramedics said Bissonnette suffered serious head injuries in the crash. He was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The crash caused significant delays in the area through Monday evening as police reconstructed the incident. Homicide detectives assumed control of the investigation, police said on Tuesday.
Friends said Bissonnette was a sous-chef who was originally from Quebec City. He lived in Toronto with his girlfriend and the couple had planned to move to B.C. in the summer.
Throughout the day Tuesday, friends stopped by the intersection where Bissonnette died to remember their friend and to lay flowers at a growing memorial.
"Ralph was just a happy guy," said friend Johnny Paredes. "He liked to be around people. If someone was in a bad mood, Ralph was there to make them happy. He was always looking for hugs. He always said, ‘bring your smile with you tomorrow.' That's Ralph."
Police told CTV Toronto that there was some sort of interaction between the taxi driver and the skateboarder before the skateboarder was hit. The driver of the cab was arrested at the scene.
"At some point the now-accused veered his taxi right into the curb lane and we believe intentionally struck the victim, causing the injuries and subsequently causing his death," said Det. Sgt. Terry Browne.
"What led up to that, we are not sure. We are still interviewing people as we speak."
Witnesses said it may have been Bissonnette who instigated the confrontation.
"The skateboarder came up behind the car. He was just rapping on the window," said witness Ben Drory. "It was, like, two or three times. It was really aggressively. I was just watching and I thought, ‘wow, that looks really dangerous.'"
Drory said he then watch as the cab swerved towards the skateboarder.
Adib Ibrahim, 43, of Toronto, has been charged with second-degree murder.
The father and husband appeared briefly in court on Tuesday and was remanded into custody.
Ibrahim is scheduled to return to court on May 22. His lawyer said he will be applying for a bail hearing.
With files from CTV Toronto's Colin D'Mello