Jennifer Wells probes the unanswered questions in the case of the cyclist who died in a collision with Michael Bryant on Bloor St.
The email arrived in my inbox at lunchtime, Aug. 4, 2010. Allan Sheppard introduced himself in the note as the adoptive father of bicycle courier Darcy Allan Sheppard, “the young man who died at the end of August last year after an altercation on Bloor Street with Michael Bryant.”
A story I had written on the adolescent male brain had clicked with Sheppard: “I have been thinking for some time now of writing a book about my experiences as a single parent raising Darcy Allan and his brother David, both of whom faced serious psychological and psychiatric challenges as children, youth and adults,” he wrote. “Both of my sons had many encounters with child and youth mental health services, almost all of them unsatisfactory and some, I suspect, actually harmful.”
The thoughtfulness and restraint of the communiqué was compelling — but then, Sheppard had quickly gained a reputation for being introspective in the wake of the tragedy. When special prosecutor Richard Peck stood before Mr. Justice Paul Bentley the morning of May 25, 2010, requesting that the charges against Bryant of criminal negligence causing death and dangerous driving causing death be withdrawn, he extended an awkwardly phrased gesture to Sheppard Sr., “a remarkable human being, deep humanity and considerable wisdom. It is a privilege to have met him.”