The morning of Sept. 30, 2016 began for a young Lethbridge woman like many other mornings.
She arose early, texted her husband who at the time was in another province, then left for work.
Unfortunately that’s where the similarities end.
As the woman walked to work, Denzel Dre Bird struck her from behind with a metal pipe, knocking her to the ground where he sexually assaulted her before dragging her into an alley and stuffing her body into a residential garbage can.
“She fell to the ground, unconscious and helpless,” Crown prosecutor Erin Olsen said Friday in Lethbridge provincial court, where Bird pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated sexual assault.
Reading from an agreed statement of facts, Olsen said the woman, who can’t be named under a court-ordered publication ban, likely hit her head when she struck the ground, which, along with the blow to the head, fractured her skull and facial bones.
The 26-year-old woman was found by two men going to work who called 911 and said they found a partially naked woman, face down in a garbage bin in an alley just off 6 Avenue South.
Uber launches in Lethbridge
Uber is ready to ride in Lethbridge. The rideshare service, which connects passengers with drivers through a smartphone app, officially launched in the city on Friday.
The first ride went to Mayor Chris Spearman and councillor Blaine Hyggen, who were driven to the Galt Museum by new Uber driver Brandon Johansen.
Lethbridge is the third city in Alberta to launch the service, after Calgary and Edmonton.
Spearman said it provides another transportation option for the citizens of Lethbridge. He also said the city welcomes opportunities for new businesses and to provide employment for citizens.
“We want people to be able to get home safely. The buses may not always be available, the taxis may not always be available and this provides another option. It’s very quick service . . .you usually have a car show up within minutes. It’s a cost-competitive option,” said Spearman. “It’s a consumer choice, but it’s an option for people who live in our city that we didn’t previously have.”
Ramit Kar, Uber’s general manager for Western Canada, said Lethbridge is the perfect city for Uber. He noted there are many post-secondary students who could benefit from the service. Students at Lethbridge College and the University of Lethbridge wrote a number of letters of support in favour of Uber coming to the city.
Dry fall in forecast
Unseasonably warm and dry conditions will remain across much of Alberta this fall and could turn into cold and dry conditions moving toward winter, according to a senior meteorologist for Accuweather.
“Especially from eastern Alberta through to Manitoba in terms of dryness,” said meteorologist Brett Anderson. “And we’re looking at above normal temperatures for most of Alberta and west into B.C.”
This could result in extreme fire danger across much of the prairies in the coming months. “If you are out camping, take care,” Anderson said. “It will not take much.”