Manslaughter charge laid in stolen Hummer crash

An 18-year-old man has been charged in connection with the death of a Winnipegger whose vehicle was struck by a stolen Hummer on Friday.
Zdzislaw Andrzejczak's small car was crumpled after a stolen, speeding Hummer H2 SUV smashed into it on Friday, police say. Andrzejczak died in hospital 40 minutes after the crash. ((CBC))
An 18-year-old man identified by police as a high-risk car thief has been charged in connection with the death of a Winnipegger whose vehicle was struck by a stolen Hummer on Friday.

Members of the Winnipeg Police Service's stolen auto unit on Monday evening arrested Mark Douglas Rodgers, who is alleged to have been driving the Hummer.

In addition to manslaughter, he has been charged with criminal negligence causing death, dangerous operation causing death and theft over $5,000.

He is in police custody.

Zdzislaw Andrzejczak, in a family photo with his wife, Jolant, died Friday. ((Family Photo/James Turner/CBC))
Zdzislaw Andrzejczak, 47, was killed at about 3 p.m. Friday when the stolen Hummer H2 slammed into his compact car at the intersection of Andrews Street and Alfred Avenue in Winnipeg's North End.

According to police, the Hummer was speeding westbound along Alfred and shot through a stop sign just as Andrzejczak's car entered the intersection.

Three people fled the Hummer and scattered through the neighbourhood. Police and canine units scoured the area for hours after the collision.

Police said the Hummer was stolen earlier in the day, sometime between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., from a parking lot in the 1800 block of Wellington Avenue, near the airport.

Police identified Rodgers as a known high-risk or Level 4 offender in the Winnipeg Auto Theft Suppression Strategy (WATSS), a provincial program for youth and young offenders considered at risk of stealing vehicles.

While the arrest is important, it will be of little comfort to Andrzejczak's family, said police spokesman Const. Jason Michalyshen.

"Bottom line here is we have an individual that's lost his life from an individual who, quite simply, is chronically involved in this type of behavior and the family's life is going to be changed forever," he said.

Andrzejczak's son, Kamil Andrzejczak, told CBC News on Tuesday that the stolen Hummer was used like a weapon and the punishment should fit the crime.

He said his family has little faith in the justice system but will follow the case to the end.

Andrzejczak's brother-in-law Andrew Piec said the family is grateful to the police for their swift action but is worried about the punishment that will be handed out to those responsible for the crash.

"I always knew that they will get caught. I had no doubt that Winnipeg Police Service will catch them," he said. "But what is our justice system going to do with it? I am afraid they will just let them go. That's why I am angry, because [then] nothing will change."

The investigation into the incident is ongoing and police said they anticipate making further arrests.

Anyone with information regarding the suspects involved is asked to contact investigators at 204-986-6230 or Crime Stoppers at 786-TIPS (8477).