ALBERTA

Joshua Cody Mitchell, Man Charged In Calgary Gas-And-Dash Death, Has Dangerous Driving History

06/11/2015 02:27 EDT | Updated 06/11/2016 05:59 EDT
CALGARY - A man accused in the death of a gas station worker who tried to stop a gas and dash was already charged with dangerous driving earlier this year.

Joshua Cody Mitchell, 20, made a brief appearance in a Calgary courtroom Thursday.

He faces charges that include criminal negligence causing death, hit and run causing death, dangerous driving causing death and possession of stolen property.

There is also one count of theft for $113 in stolen gas.

Mitchell was charged Jan. 30 with dangerous driving, possession of stolen property and driving without a valid licence. He had been released on bail.

He is to appear in court again Monday.

Police say Maryam Rashidi was chasing a truck Sunday and stood in front of it to try to stop the driver from leaving without paying. She was hit and carried along on the hood before she fell off and was run over. She died in hospital Tuesday.

Alnoor Bhura, president of Centex Petroleum, has said company employees are told not to put themselves at risk chasing a "gas runaway.'' A company official confirmed Wednesday that staff are told to call the police and are not required to pay out of their own pocket for stolen gas.

Rashidi, 35, and her husband, Ahmed Mourani Shallo, emigrated to Canada from their home country of Iran a year ago. Both got engineering jobs in Calgary, but when the Alberta economy started to decline, both were laid off.

Family friend Amin Atter said Rashidi took the job at the Centex station because she felt she had no choice.

"She wanted to bring food onto the table for the family, even though that job was not related to her professional career," Atter said. After three days working ... this tragedy happened."

Mourani Shallo said it will take him some time to get over the loss.

"She was very responsible, she was very pretty and she was a very good wife for me,'' he said. "She was the best thing I had.''

Bhura has called on the government to adopt legislation that requires drivers to pay before they can use gas pumps.

He has the support of the Alberta and British Columbia federations of labour, which are renewing calls for tougher laws to protect late-night workers.

"Pay-before-you-pump laws are vital and need to be in place in every province. It is a basic law and it saves lives," said Aaron Ekman of the BC Federation of Labour. "This tragic incident is all too familiar for us in B.C."

B.C. was the first province in Canada to legislate having to pay upfront for gasoline. Grant's Law was crafted after Grant De Patie, a young gas station attendant, was dragged to his death in 2005 while trying to stop someone in a gas and dash.

Some of Alberta's top union leaders Thursday endorsed a gas station workplace safety plan.

"With a new government, we're hopeful that there will finally be a willingness on the part of our elected representatives to enact a pay-at-the-pump law in Alberta," said Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour.

Premier Rachel Notley says her government will look into such legislation. Notley told CBC Radio that health and safety should be a priority and the issue needs to be reviewed.

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