Last Tuesday night, January 24th, a wealthy and exclusive residential neighbourhood in Toronto, Canada was witness to an event that's growing in popularity among North American teens: street racing. Nobody might have paid any undue attention to the two Mercedes Benz cars travelling at 140 kmh (90 mph) in a 50 kmh (35 mph) zone save for the fact their actions resulted in the death of a local cab driver.
One of the two cars smashed into the taxicab with such force that it folded the vehicle around a utility poll. Adding to the poignancy of the case are the discrepancies in status between the teenaged defendants and the victim of the event. While the young men are the progeny of affluent families, the late cab driver had been working as a cabbie for the last six years in order to afford to bring his wife to Canada. He was due to be sworn in as a Canadian citizen on Friday, February the 3rd and had been expecting his wife to able to join him shortly after.
The young men have been charged with criminal negligence causing death, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death, and failing to stop after an accident causing death. They are currently out on bail of $50,000 a piece and living under numerous restrictions including being prohibited from driving.
A case like this doesn't need any distractions from the details of the actual events. It has already been complicated enough by the sentiments aroused concerning the circumstances of the deceased. But media outlets have begun to muddy the waters further by focusing on the fact that a certain video game was found in the front seat of one of the two cars being raced.
"Did Need For Speed Kill" was the headline the following day in the Toronto tabloid The Toronto Sun and was also the theme of many a talk radio call in show. In other words did the fact that these two young men had obviously played this game at some point have any bearing on the death of the cab driver?