Fatal accident linked to assault

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Barb Sweet
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Police say man killed in crash was alleged assailant in Tuesday attack

A man who died in a car accident at the intersection of Columbus Drive and Canada Drive in St. John's early on Canada Day was the same man who assaulted a 64-year-old man in Portugal Cove-St. Philip's Tuesday afternoon, according to the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.

The RNC said it found part of a broken knife in the man's car, which matched the fragment left at the Western Gully Road home of the man who was attacked. The knife had broken during the attack, RNC Const. Paul Davis said Thursday.

Police officers with the RNCs traffic services/accident investigation division closed off a portion of the Canada Drive/Columbus Drive intersection Thursday morning as they investigated an early Canada Day morning fatal accident. Photo by Joe Gibbons/The

A man who died in a car accident at the intersection of Columbus Drive and Canada Drive in St. John's early on Canada Day was the same man who assaulted a 64-year-old man in Portugal Cove-St. Philip's Tuesday afternoon, according to the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.

The RNC said it found part of a broken knife in the man's car, which matched the fragment left at the Western Gully Road home of the man who was attacked. The knife had broken during the attack, RNC Const. Paul Davis said Thursday.

The RNC has not released the name of the 39-year-old deceased, who was from Mount Pearl and had not lived in Portugal Cove. The man was not a suspect in the Portugal Cove assault until after the accident, Davis said, adding timelines have been pieced together since then.

"We know that he left his residence, his home that (Tuesday) morning. We know that he had headed to Portugal Cove to cause harm to somebody. We know during the altercation there was a knife involved," Davis said.

"There are a number of pieces of evidence that have drawn us to conclude this was the person."

The family of the 64-year-old man who was attacked said Thursday they did not want to talk about the incident. According to police, the 64-year-old man was transported to a St. John's hospital for his non-life- threatening injuries and was released from hospital Wednesday.

The stabbing is the talk of Portugal Cove, where such incidents are unusual.

"I'm scared to death," said one resident who grew up there. "I never heard the like of it in my life."

The Portugal Cove man did not know his attacker and it was a sudden, unprovoked assault, Davis said.

Davis, speaking to reporters from the intersection where the Canada Day accident happened, said it's believed the Mount Pearl man's mental health was a factor in the assault, which occurred shortly before 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The stabbing occurred after a brief, unclear conversation that took place when the older man opened the door, Davis said.

There is a rumour circulating in the community, according to residents, that the Mount Pearl man may have dated a relative of the man he attacked. It is also rumoured he had mentioned the devil prior to the attack.

Meanwhile, the man's mental health may also be a factor in the car accident, but Davis said police may never know for sure. He was alone in the car when the accident happened.

"We may never know the reason for this collision," said Davis, as police officers closed the major St. John's intersection for almost two hours Thursday and used sophisticated survey equipment to take measurements and other data from the area.

All the information is entered into a computer which produces a sophisticated diagram of the scene, said Const. Purdy Mercer, working at the intersection Thursday. Accident investigators then use the diagram to help them determine the particulars of the accident.

According to the RNC, the vehicle was travelling south on Columbus Drive when it collided with a concrete traffic pole at the Canada Drive intersection and landed on its roof.

Alcohol has been ruled out and drugs are not believed to be a factor.

"What we do know is that the person operating this vehicle was in the Portugal Cove Road area a short time before this accident occurred," Davis said.

bsweet@thetelegram.com

Organizations: RNC Const.

Geographic location: Portugal Cove Road, St. John's, Mount Pearl Western Gully Road

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  • harry
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    its so true what a shame i dont think theres much support or help for mental health patients anywhere . the system just dont work . pills pills n more pills experimenting .

  • liz
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    God grant him the peace in death that he apparently couldn't find while alive. Mental illness is a tough road to travel and there's little or no support in this province for anyone who suffers from it.

  • harry
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    its so true what a shame i dont think theres much support or help for mental health patients anywhere . the system just dont work . pills pills n more pills experimenting .

  • liz
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    God grant him the peace in death that he apparently couldn't find while alive. Mental illness is a tough road to travel and there's little or no support in this province for anyone who suffers from it.