A 64-year-old woman left paralyzed after she was pushed onto C-Train tracks wants her attacker to get help, according to the victim’s family, who spoke outside of a Calgary courtroom after a guilty plea.
On Friday, Stephanie Favel pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, admitting to the random, unprovoked attack on RozaliaMeichl, 64, in November 2018.
Meichl is still in hospital and will be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life.
“[Mom] has no animosity towards her. She wants to see her get some help and hopefully she gets that where she’s going,” said Meichl’s daughter, Charmaine Newman.
Favel was angry, drunk and high on methamphetamine when she made a split-second decision to push a stranger into the path of an oncoming train, according to an agreed statement of facts presented by prosecutor Doug Taylor to provincial court Judge Harry Van Harten.
A sentencing hearing will take place at a later date.
Defence lawyer Adriano Iovinelli requested a Gladue report, which examines an Indigenous offender’s background.
Meichl and her fiance were standing on the Victoria Park LRT Station platform around 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 8 when Favel approached, according to the facts.
At first, Favel just mumbled something and walked away.
But after the northbound train’s arrival was announced over the loudspeaker, Favel approached again and stood beside Meichl.
“The accused then suddenly, and without provocation, pushed the victim using her left shoulder and elbow,” said Taylor.
Meichl landed on her head. She suffered a fractured spine and dislocated vertebrae. Meichl’s family says she is now paralyzed.
The C-Train driver pulled the brakes right away and was able to stop the train at the “very edge of the platform.”
Transit police officer Kitty Aalders, who had heard Favel cursing earlier, immediately moved through the crowd, pushed the suspect on the ground and held her there until backup arrived.
At the time, Favel told police she was “on a large amount of methamphetamine, marijuana, alcohol and Gravol,” according to the agreed facts.
Forensic psychiatrist Dr. George Duska examined Favel and found she suffers from addictions to drugs and alcohol, borderline personality disorder and complicated grief.
Meichl’s children said they took some comfort in seeing Favel crying in the prisoner’s box.
“Seeing her shed tears showed signs of remorse,” said Allan Hein. “Although it doesn’t make it right, it definitely helps to know that she knows what she did was wrong.”
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Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area. It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary, generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road). Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.
Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016, Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.
Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.
The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton. The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.