No charges for passengers in fatal collision involving alleged drunk driver angers victim’s family

The mother of a Manitoba woman killed in a collision involving an alleged drunk driver is speaking out after learning occupants in the other vehicle driven by the accused won’t face any criminal charges.

Jordyn Reimer, 24, who’s from Winnipeg originally and had been living in Brandon, Man. was killed in a two-vehicle crash in the early morning hours of May 1 at the intersection of Bond Street and Kildare Avenue West in Transcona.

She was the designated driver for a group of friends the night the driver of a pickup truck collided with her vehicle in a residential area near where she grew up.

Karen Reimer, Jordyn’s mom, along with members of Jordyn’s family, met with the Manitoba Prosecution Service on Friday and found out the Crown isn’t proceeding with any charges against the occupants of the truck.

“The Crown decided not to prosecute and we’re very unhappy about that,” Reimer said in an interview.

In a media release on May 1, the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) said the driver and occupants of the vehicle that collided with Jordyn’s fled the scene.

On May 2, WPS investigators announced they had charged Tyler Scott Goodman, now 29, with dangerous driving causing death, impaired driving causing death, and failing to stop at the scene of an accident involving death.

Details of the case and submissions made during a bail hearing for Goodman in May are under a publication ban.

A judge granted him bail on several conditions including living with a surety, not driving, abstaining from alcohol and drugs, and curfew checks.

None of the allegations against Goodman have been tested in court and he’s presumed innocent.

Reimer feels people who get into a vehicle with an impaired driver and leave the scene after a crash should be held accountable.

“Nobody checked on Jordyn, went and looked to see how Jordyn was, nobody called 911,” Reimer said.

In an email, a provincial spokesperson said the WPS submitted its investigation for a Crown opinion as to whether evidence supported criminal charges.

“Manitoba Prosecution Service met with the family (Friday morning) and explained the law as it exists does not support charges against the passengers,” the spokesperson said in an email.

“The criminal charge of failing to remain at the scene of an accident where death results only applies to the “operator” of the vehicle. There is also no evidence that the passengers did or omitted to do anything for the purpose of aiding the driver in committing the offence of failing to remain at the scene.”

“Based on the available evidence the Crown cannot establish that they did or omitted to do anything for the purpose of helping the driver leave the scene (or encouraged him to leave the scene in any way).”

Reimer wants the Crown to revisit the decision not only for her daughter, but for the safety of the wider public.

“We have to be Jordyn’s voice, we have to stand up for Jordyn and fight for accountability,” Reimer said. “Prosecuting can only benefit the greater public in the long run because people are going to think twice about getting in a vehicle with someone they know that is impaired.”

“We’re not making great changes in the statistics of impaired driving and this is one area where I think that we could make a difference.”

Reimer said if current provisions under the Criminal Code won’t allow for prosecution of passengers then changes may be needed.

“The argument is that the law isn’t applicable and if the law needs to be rewritten to be very explicit I guess that’s the next step, is to go to Ottawa and to advocate for that,” she said.

The Crown is proceeding with charges against the mother of the accused, 57-year-old Laurie Lynn Goodman, on one count of obstruction of justice and two counts of accessory after the fact.

Winnipeg police previously said the charges against Laurie Goodman are about allegations untruthful or misleading statements were provided to officers during their investigation.

None of the charges against her have been tested in court and she’s presumed innocent. 

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