Driving lesson

Prominent Victoria driving instructor charged with sexually harassing teenage students

Just over a week ago, 18-year-old Aiko Oye had her first and only driving lesson with Steve Wallace, longtime instructor and owner of Wallace Driving School.

Within five minutes of the meeting, Oye says she sensed something was wrong.

“He looked me in the eye and said ‘wow, you have movie star eyes,'” Oye said, adding that things only got worse from there. “He told me I love you about 15 times.”

Oye also claims that Wallace placed his hand over hers while she was driving when she thought it was unnecessary.

His full account of the experience can be found here. Oye then told her sister and friends about the uncomfortable encounter and quickly realized she was not alone, as others shared similar accounts of their time with Wallace. Oye says she felt compelled to protect others, so she started a social media page called Wallace Driving School Victims.

“I don’t want this to happen again,” Oye said. “I wanted to create a safe place where people felt they could talk about it anonymously because it was more comfortable to do so.”

CHEK News verified that Oye’s page received more than 40 direct messages in four days. Most of the posts were from women sharing allegations against Wallace, ranging from unprofessional behavior to inappropriate touching.

“It was like devastating,” Oye said.

Oye began reposting the stories on his page, some of which date back to the early 1980s when Wallace worked as a teacher and taught driving in Quesnel, British Columbia.

“I mean, there’s a relief because there’s a lot of power in numbers and you feel like you have a lot of people on your side,” Oye said. “But it’s very upsetting.”

The page now has over 1,000 followers. As for Wallace, according to his website, the 72-year-old taught more than 25,000 students to drive. He also sponsors several local sports teams and wrote a weekly column in the Times Colonist, which has now been canceled following the allegations. In a statement to CHEK News, Wallace wrote:

“I’m so sorry for doing anything that made anyone feel uncomfortable. Learning to drive is a process where confidence is built in a short time. I’m in a position of trust and I am appalled to learn that my actions and words are seen as a violation of that trust. I focus on positive reinforcement so that new drivers learn the necessary and vital skills. These interactions include vehicle control interventions to Going forward, I will make it clear that controlling emergency vehicles may require physical contact.

“I take social media comments seriously and they make me think about the unintended consequences of my recent driving lesson. I thank the authors [for] their concerns. I acknowledge and respect their feelings. It is a return of humility and I promise to do better.

Oye says that despite the apology, the social media page will remain active and she also plans to speak to the police.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

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