2nd Driver Convicted in 2021 Woolwich St Street Race Collision
In May of 2021, a tragic car crash on Woolwich Street in Guelph involved more than just the driver who collided with an oncoming vehicle, seriously injuring a 14-year-old girl. It’s now clear that another driver also played a crucial role in the incident.
Adnan Refaeh from Puslinch was convicted of dangerous driving causing bodily harm and failing to remain at the scene after a nearly three-week Superior Court trial in Guelph. He and another driver from Kitchener, previously found guilty, were reportedly racing at high speeds before the crash.
Assistant Crown attorney Peter Keen dismissed the defense’s claim that Refaeh was trying to escape the other driver out of fear, stating, “This was a race, not a chase.” The collision involved a white Cadillac, driven by Mitchell Nodwell from Kitchener, which swerved into the oncoming lane and hit a third vehicle, severely injuring a young girl in the back seat.
Sentencing for Refaeh is scheduled for February 8. His attorney, Brian Starkman, mentioned his client’s young age of 19 at the time of the incident, suggesting that Refaeh’s engagement in the race was a youthful error.
Refaeh testified that his actions, including revving his engine and initially keeping up with the Cadillac, were not meant to signal a race. However, the situation escalated into a high-speed pursuit, with the Cadillac aggressively following Refaeh’s BMW.
Seven eyewitnesses described the incident as a “race,” noting the extreme speeds. Keen emphasized the lack of evidence supporting Refaeh’s claim of feeling threatened.
The court heard how the vehicles interacted dangerously, with the Cadillac at one point trying to touch the BMW. Refaeh claimed he was scared for his life, but Keen argued that his actions were more consistent with someone trying to win a race.
The catastrophic crash occurred when the Cadillac aggressively overtook the BMW, leading to a head-on collision with a VW Jetta and subsequent impacts involving a parked vehicle and a minivan.
Refaeh admitted in court that he tried to conceal his involvement in the crash by altering his car’s appearance and using his father’s car for work. His defense attorney mentioned that Refaeh received poor advice from his family, including his sister, a Peel Regional Police officer.
The investigation revealed that police did not test Nodwell for impairment despite finding drugs at the scene. No collision reconstruction was conducted to determine the exact speeds involved in the crash. Nodwell, the driver of the Cadillac, had previously pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing bodily harm and drug trafficking charges, receiving a 30-month jail sentence.