Wallace Driving School owner and former Victoria newspaper columnist Steve Wallace has died, a day after Black Press Media learned that several sexual assault charges against him would not be pursued by Crown counsel .
Wallace, 72, founded his driving school with his wife Joan Wallace in 1976 and has since taught more than 25,000 students. He was also an elementary and secondary school teacher, mayor and councilor in Quesnel, British Columbia.
Joan Wallace confirmed her husband’s death in an emailed statement Friday morning:
“With a heavy heart, I share with you that my devoted husband of 48 years, Steve Wallace, has died at the Royal Jubilee Hospital after suffering a heart attack. Although the past few months have been a difficult time, I am grateful that he has had the opportunity to finally feel relief from the allegations against him that have not been pursued and to look forward to better days. At this time, I ask the media and the public to respect my privacy and that of the driving school that we have built together for 45 years. More information will be available in the near future.
In recent months, Wallace has faced numerous allegations of sexual assault and inappropriate behavior from former students of the driving school he taught. He was arrested in October and was due to appear in court on Thursday (November 25), but the Crown attorney decided not to pursue the charges recommended against him.
“After a full review of the investigative materials provided by the investigative agency, Crown counsel assigned to assess the charges concluded that the charge assessment standard had not been met for any criminal offense and that no charges will be laid,” Dan McLaughlin, communications attorney at the BC Prosecution Service, said in an email to Black Press Media on November 24.
An earlier ICBC investigation resulted in Wallace’s driving instructor license being permanently revoked, subject to a 30-day appeal window and stay-away-from-drive-away conditions. school. We don’t know if he made that call.
Wallace, who moved the driving school to Greater Victoria with his wife when they moved to the area a few years ago, was also well known to the public in Greater Victoria sporting circles, having been a regular presence at the Victoria Royals and Victoria HarbourCats games. He also wrote a regular driving column for the Victoria Times Colonist, which suspended its column amid the allegations.
Longtime former colleague and friend, former Kitimat Mayor Joanne Monaghan said she was “devastated” to learn of Wallace’s passing, especially after speaking with him on Thursday morning.
“He never had heart problems. I think the stress – that’s what it was,” Monaghan told Black Press Media on Friday morning.
She did not comment on the allegations against Wallace, except to say from her experience that he had always been a gentleman and very kind.
“He was someone who was always fair and courteous and caring. He always had a lot of energy,” she said. “He was just one of those sweet people. He was very smart.
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