A former Calgary medical examiner who continues to testify in Alberta courtrooms as an expert in forensic pathology faces drunk driving charges in the United States, accused of seriously injuring a woman in a crash.
The three impaired driving charges against Dr. Bamidele Adeagbo stem from a collision last May in Terre Haute, Ind.
Adeagbo worked in Calgary from 2012 to 2018 and was appointed interim chief medical examiner in 2017.
He has testified as an expert in southern Alberta numerous times over the years, most recently in February at the trial for a man accused of murdering his four-year-old daughter.
The charges faced by Adeagbo are a Level 5 felony, according to Indiana State laws, meaning he could face jail time between one and five years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Since 2018, Adeagbo has been working at the Terre Haute Regional Hospital in western Indiana. The hospital has not returned CBC’s request for comment.
Adeagbo had been qualified as an expert about 30 times in Alberta and numerous times in the United States as well.
Controversial Alberta case
Adeagbo is at the centre of a highly publicized case involving Alberta parents who are accused of failing to take their dying son to a doctor in time.
During a retrial, the judge acquitted David and Collet Stephan, in part because of what the judge described as Adeagbo’s “garbled” and “incomprehensible” testimony.
The Nigerian-born doctor speaks with an accent.
In appealing the acquittal, the appeal prosecutor argued the trial judge was biased, making “insulting” and “offensive remarks” about the Nigerian-born medical examiner’s manner of speaking during his testimony.
The Crown appealed the Stephans’ acquittal which has been argued. The Alberta Court of Appeal will likely release its decision in the coming weeks or months.
Roadside sobriety test failed
On May 27, 2020, Adeagbo was arrested after allegedly rear-ending a woman on a highway in Vigo County around 9 p.m.
The victim said she had been in a passing lane in preparation to make a left-hand turn.
“The next thing she knew, she was hit from behind,” reads part of the probable cause affidavit.
Deputy Bernie McGee observed Adeagbo’s motor skills were poor and his eyes were watery and bloodshot. The officer also smelled a “strong odour of an alcoholic beverage emitting from his breath.”
Adeagbo admitted he’d had a couple of drinks with a friend at a restaurant called Wings.
McGee had Adeagbo perform a few standardized roadside sobriety tests and noted the doctor was “very unsteady on his feet.”
Adeagbo lost his balance, stepped off the line, used arms for balance, took the wrong number of steps and put a foot down during the tests.
The officer then performed a breath test. Adeagbo’s blood-alcohol level registerered at .112, according to the police report.
The victim did not have visible injuries but first responders noted extensive damage to both Adeagbo’s Mercedes as well as the woman’s car.
She was taken to hospital where her injuries were found to be worse than initially thought. Court and police documents do not elaborate on the specifics of her injuries and chief deputy prosecutor Rob Roberts said because of privacy laws, he could not comment.
Could this affect Calgary cases?
One legal expert says although Adeagbo’s charges could become relevant next time he testifies in Alberta, it could be an uphill battle for counsel to prove relevancy.
“Theoretically, any witness facing outstanding criminal charges could be asked questions about criminal allegations,” said defence lawyer Kelsey Sitar.
“However, where it is not a crime of dishonesty, counsel would need to show why that outstanding charge is relevant. Sometimes that comes from the allegations being close in time to the events that are being testified about.”
Another route to relevancy would be if a witness had previously admitted to having a long-standing substance abuse problem, although there is nothing in this particular case to suggest that is the issue here.
Trial postponed because of COVID
Initially, Adeagbo was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated endangering a person and operating a vehicle with an alcohol concentration between .08 and .15.
After the extent of the victim’s injuries were realized, he was also charged with impaired driving causing serious bodily injury.
A jury trial was set to begin Sept. 15 but because of COVID-related protocols, it has been postponed, according to Roberts.
Adeagbo’s lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.
The case will be back in court in December.