2018-02-27 Jackie Dunham,

Alberta taxi driver suspended after teen says he was ditched on frigid rural road

    Jackie Dunham, 
    Published Tuesday, January 2, 2018 8:42AM EST 
    Last Updated Tuesday, January 2, 2018 7:21PM EST

    An Alberta cab driver has been suspended while a taxi company investigates a complaint that a teenager was ditched on the side of a rural road in extremely low temperatures.

    Carson Terpsma, 19, told CTV Edmonton that he was out with friends on Whyte Avenue in Edmonton celebrating New Year’s Eve when he hailed a taxi to take him home to Beaumont, Alta., just south of the city.

    “I hopped in the cab and asked him if 40 bucks would get me to Beaumont and he said, “Yeah, of course,’” Carson recalled on Monday.

    Carson and mother

    Carson Terpsma, 19, called his mother to pick up after a cab driver left him on the side of a rural road on New Year's Eve.

    Before getting into the cab, Carson said he gave his coat to one of his friends who was underdressed for the frigid weather outside.

    The cab’s meter hit $40 when they were driving on a rural road outside of Beaumont located nearly an hour’s walk away from his house, Carson said.

    “He [the cab driver] said, ‘Your 40 bucks is up, give me more money or get out,’” Carson said.

    Temperatures dipped down below -30 C in Beaumont on Sunday evening and Carson was left on the side of the road without a coat.

    Marci Terpsma, the teenager’s mother, said she received a call from her son at approximately 11:30 p.m. that night.

    “You could hear in his voice how hard he was shivering. He said, ‘Mom, can you come get me? I’m out on the backroad.’”

    “His fingers were frozen. His feet were frozen. He was just so cold,” Terpsma said.

    After she picked up her son, Terpsma said she called the taxi company in question, Yellow Cab, to report the incident.

    “I want accountability from cab drivers, so no mother ever has to feel like that again,” she said. “Knowing that that cab driver could possibly do the same thing in one night disturbed me.”

    Phil Strong, president of the Edmonton Taxi Group and Yellow Cab, said Tuesday that the driver has been suspended while the company looks into the two different versions of what happened.

    Yellow Cab issued a written statement to CTV Edmonton that said the company is “temporarily suspending the driving privileges of the driver involved pending the completion of the internal investigation.”

    The investigation will include “third-party witnesses” and a review of “all available electronic records and evidence,” according to the company.

    Yellow cab says that while it’s still in the “early stage” of its investigation, “there are a number of significant inconsistencies between what is being reported by third parties and the information being provided by the driver, along with the available records reviewed to date.”

    “It is Yellow Cab’s express policy that its drivers deliver their clients to the nearest safe, public location once the client’s deposit has been depleted or the client has indicated that they will not be able to pay any further fares,” the statement goes on.

    With a report from CTV Edmonton’s Shanelle Kaul and files from The Canadian Press

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