PEI·CBC Investigates

P.E.I. man's driving record cleared after impostor tarnishes his name

A Summerside, P.E.I., man has had convictions on his driving record cleared after authorities determined he wasn't behind the wheel of a car that was stopped and charged with various infractions.

‘It’s good to know that I can go to the IWK with my son, I can go to New Brunswick when I have to.’

Rick McKie is relieved his driving record has now been cleared of charges incurred by someone using his name. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

A Summerside, P.E.I., man is now free to travel off-Island again after winning a battle to clear his driving record of charges an imposter racked up using his name.

Rick McKie, a single father of three, was banned from driving in New Brunswick because of unpaid fines from 2018. McKie told police the driver they pulled over wasn't him, but it's taken more than a year to clear his name.

He told CBC News he got confirmation this week from highway safety officials that the charges were stayed and his record was cleared.

Lifting the driving ban means McKie can once again take his son to his appointments at the IWK Hospital in Halifax and haul seafood through New Brunswick, which is part of his job trucking for Arsenault's Fish Mart in Summerside.

"It's good to know that I can go to the IWK with my son, I can go to New Brunswick when I have to. I didn't do nothing wrong so it kind of makes sense that I should be able to [travel through New Brunswick],"' he said.

McKie always maintained it wasn't him

RCMP pulled over a car with a New Brunswick plate in St. Stephen, N.B., on Sept. 13, 2018, and charged the driver with failing to produce a valid driver's licence, failing to have a vehicle inspected and operating an unregistered vehicle.

The three charges were issued against Rick McKie on Sept.13, 2018 by St. Stephen, N.B. RCMP. (CBC)

The fines totalled more than $1,000 and the driver gave the officer McKie's name and a home address in St. Stephen. McKie said he never lived there or anywhere in New Brunswick.

McKie said he was at work that day on P.E.I. until 7 p.m., went home, and took his kids to school the next morning. He insists it couldn't have been him behind the wheel of a car pulled over in St. Stephen — a four-hour drive away.

He said he didn't find out about the charges until he got his insurance bill and saw his truck insurance had almost doubled, to more than $100 a month. The insurance company looked into it and told him the hike was due to unpaid fines. 

McKie insisted he wasn't the driver who was stopped. He said RCMP in New Brunswick contacted him the day after the CBC News story came out in February outlining his situation, but it was just this week that he found out his name was finally cleared. 

'There were errors made'

Doug MacEwen, P.E.I.'s registrar of motor vehicles, confirmed to CBC News that McKie's record is now cleared in both N.B. and P.E.I.

Doug MacEwen, P.E.I.’s registrar of motor vehicles, says Rick McKie’s driver's licence is no longer suspended in New Brunswick and his driving convictions have been removed. (Al MacCormick/CBC)

Police withdrew the charges during a court hearing in Saint John, N.B. on March 10. 

"Basically, it means there was enough evidence there.... So they put it through the court process where the judge agreed that the tickets would be allowed to be withdrawn so we received documents that the convictions were stayed," said MacEwen.

"I think it's a good news story when ... everyone recognizes that there were errors made and they have been corrected."      .

"Based on the investigation, we determined that it was not Mr. McKie," said RCMP Cpl. Jullie Rogers-Marsh, media relations officer with the New Brunswick RCMP,  so police decided to withdraw the charges.

"I could appreciate how it would be frustrating for him but we have resolved the issue," she said.  

Then who was it?

If it wasn't McKie, then who was it?

Rick McKie poses with his son, Jackson. Jackson has a medical conditions which requires regular checkups at the IWK Children's Hospital in Halifax. (Submitted by Rick McKie)

Rogers-Marsh said police continue to investigate.

"That would be what we would be looking into as far as the investigation to determine who the individual was." 

McKie said the ordeal has weighed heavily on him, but he did have an outpouring of support from friends, family and complete strangers.  

He's happy now to have it all behind him.

More from CBC P.E.I. 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Wayne Thibodeau

Prince Edward Island

Wayne Thibodeau is a reporter/editor with CBC Prince Edward Island. He has worked as a reporter, editor, photographer and video journalist in print, digital and TV for more than 20 years. He can be reached at Wayne.Thibodeau@CBC.ca

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