Daniel MacKenzie speaks to city councillors during a regular committee meeting in Whitehorse on Dec. 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

‘Magic Cool Bus’ founder charged with harassment, uttering death threats

Daniel MacKenzie, the founder of the Free the Beat Foundation, was arrested Dec. 29

A Whitehorse man who’s been trying to get his safe-ride-home program off the ground is facing criminal charges after allegedly stalking a woman, threatening to kill another, and uttering death threats against Yukon government employees.

Daniel MacKenzie, the founder of the Free the Beat Foundation and operator of the “Magic Cool Bus,” was arrested Dec. 29 and later charged with one count of criminal harassment and two counts of uttering death threats.

He made his first appearance in territorial court Dec. 31.

According to court documents, MacKenzie allegedly “repeatedly” followed a woman between Dec. 1 and 28, causing her to “reasonably, in all the circumstances, fear for her safety.”

He is also alleged to have conveyed a death threat against another woman to her, and, on Dec. 26, uttered death threats to Yukon government employees.

Dressed in a black sweater, MacKenzie said little in court as the Crown and his defence lawyer, Robert Dick, set a date for his bail hearing.

MacKenzie’s mother, however, was sitting in the court gallery and began to cry when he was brought into the prisoner’s box. She became distraught when he was taken away following the conclusion of the brief proceedings, asking when she would be allowed to see her son.

MacKenzie, who remains in custody, is scheduled to appear in court next on Jan. 2.

MacKenzie has spent recent months trying to garner support, including from Whitehorse city council, for his “Magic Cool Bus” initiative, a service that offers Whitehorse residents rides home in a school bus — in particular, those that have been out at bars — on a by-donation or free basis.

The City of Whitehorse distanced itself from MacKenzie’s plan saying he hadn’t met any of the regulatory requirements necessary to provide his service. Following the city’s statement MacKenzie said he was going to become a paid service and meet all the city’s requirements.

In recent Facebook posts, he had shared links to a GoFundMe campaign he created to help pay the remaining amount he owed on the school bus, and also appeared to be trying to sell several items, including fire wood and vehicles, to cover the cost. In a Dec. 27 message, MacKenzie wrote that he had until Jan. 1 to raise $5,000 for the bus, and that he had also had his business licence application rejected.

“I hope you all can take a lesson as I have from this and try to help people regardless of the risks and how crazy it can get trying to do something entirely new with good intentions,” he wrote. “…I had a dream to see this a reality by January 1st 2019 I’m sorry I failed you, my community. If I can keep the bus I’ll be running by the 2nd week of Jan if not at least we tried. So appreciative of the strong friends who have stuck by me through all this. You’ve made it possible to get this close.”

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

d
Wyatt’s World

Wyatt’s World for March 5, 2021.

g
Yukonomist: School competition ramps up in the Yukon

It’s common to see an upstart automaker trying to grab share from… Continue reading

The Yukon government responded to a petition calling the SCAN Act “draconian” on Feb. 19. (Yukon News file)
Yukon government accuses SCAN petitioner of mischaracterizing her eviction

A response to the Jan. 7 petition was filed to court on Feb. 19

City councillor Samson Hartland in Whitehorse on Dec. 3, 2018. Hartland has announced his plans to run for mayor in the Oct. 21 municipal election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillor sets sights on mayor’s chair

Hartland declares election plans

Whitehorse RCMP will provide internet safety training due to an uptick of child luring offences. (iStock photo)
RCMP hosting internet safety webinars for parents and caregivers

The webinars will take place on March 23 and 25

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Public Health Nurse Angie Bartelen at the Yukon Convention Centre Clinic in Whitehorse on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
State of emergency extended for another 90 days

“Now we’re in a situation where we see the finish line.”

The Yukon government says it is working towards finding a solution for Dawson area miners who may be impacted by City of Dawson plans and regulations. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Miner expresses frustration over town plan

Designation of claims changed to future planning

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been postponed indefinitely. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
2022 Arctic Winter Games postponed indefinitely

Wood Buffalo, Alta., Host Society committed to rescheduling at a later date

Crews work to clear the South Klondike Highway after an avalanche earlier this week. (Submitted)
South Klondike Highway remains closed due to avalanches

Yukon Avalanche Association recommending backcountry recreators remain vigilant

RCMP Online Crime Reporting website in Whitehorse on March 5. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Whitehorse RCMP launch online crime reporting

Both a website and Whitehorse RCMP app are now available

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is preparing for a pandemic-era election this October with a number of measures proposed to address COVID-19 restrictions. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City gets set for Oct. 21 municipal election

Elections procedures bylaw comes forward

A rendering of the Normandy Manor seniors housing facility. (Photo courtesy KBC Developments)
Work on seniors housing project moves forward

Funding announced for Normandy Manor

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

Most Read