Robert Taman speaks out after fatal crash involving off-duty cop
A Manitoba man whose wife was hit and killed in 2005 is speaking out after a fatal collision Tuesday night involving an off-duty member of the Winnipeg Police Service.
Cody Severight, 23, was fatally hit near Main Street and Sutherland Avenue around 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Const. Justin Holz, 34, is charged with impaired driving causing death and failing to stop at the scene of an accident involving death. Holz is an 8-year-veteran of the Winnipeg Police Service.
According to Winnipeg police officials, Holz had come off a day shift Tuesday after working until about 4:30 p.m.
Robert Taman’s wife Crystal was killed in February of 2005, when she was rear-ended by an off-duty police officer who had been at a house party before the crash.
Taman said that he knows the heartbreak of Cody Severight’s family all too well, and has reached out to them to offer his condolences.
“Every one of these is tough to hear. It brings back sadness and bad memories,” Taman said.
“That doesn’t change.”
Following his wife’s death, Taman helped to establish the Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba (IIU) while serving on the Manitoba Police Commission.
The IIU is handling the investigation into Tuesday night’s fatal collision, and Taman said he hopes the Severight family sees justice moving forward.
“I would hope that the IIU will investigate it fully and they’ll be transparent,” Taman said. “And that the family will be satisfied in the end with the investigation.”
Taman has long called for tougher penalties for drunk drivers and spoken out against what he said is a culture of officers drinking after a shift and getting in their vehicles.
Calling it a “behaviour”, Taman said no one can be complacent about individuals who perpetuate a culture of drunk driving.
“If we all accept it, then we’re all to blame.”
A spokesperson with the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) said it would be up to the IIU to determine where Holz was between the end of his shift Tuesday afternoon and when he allegedly hit Severight.
The spokesperson also said the WPS could not comment on the IIU’s ongoing investigation.
Holz was released on a promise to appear, and will make his first court appearance on Nov. 22.
In an email statement to CTV News, a spokesperson with the IIU said its investigators are working to gather “as much information as possible” before Holz’ first court appearance.