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

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. The Yukon government announced three new cases of COVID-19 in Watson Lake on Oct. 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three new COVID-19 cases identified in Watson Lake

The Yukon government has identified three locations in town where public exposure may have occurred

The Whitehorse sewage lagoons photographed in 2011. With new regulations for wastewater anticipated to be introduced by the federal government within the next decade, the City of Whitehorse may soon be doing some prep work by looking at exactly what type of pollutants are making their way into the city’s wastewater. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Pondering pollutants

City could spend $70,000 looking at what contaminents are in waste water

Most of Whitehorse Individual Learning Centre’s class of 2020 graduates. The former students were welcomed back and honoured by staff at the school on Oct. 14 with a personalized grad ceremony for each graduate. (Submitted)
Individual Learning Centre grads honoured

Members of the Whitehorse Individual Learning Centre’s class of 2020 were welcomed… Continue reading

Asad Chishti, organizer of the rally to support the conservation of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, leads marchers through chants with a megaphone outside the Bank of Montreal in Whitehorse on Aug. 28. The BMO is the second Candian bank to announce it will not directly fund oil and gas projects in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Bank of Montreal second Canadian bank to join ANWR boycott

BMO joins RBC, the first to commit to the boycott

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brendan Hanley speak during a COVID-19 update press conference in Whitehorse on July 29. Silver urged “kindness and patience” during the weekly COVID-19 update on Oct. 21, after RCMP said they are investigating an act of vandalism against American travellers in Haines Junction.
(Alistair Maitland Photography file)
COVID-19 update urges “kindness and patience” for travellers transiting through the territory

“We need to support each other through these challenging times”

asdf
COMMENTARY: Me and systemic racism

The view from a place of privilege

asdf
Today’s mailbox: Electricity and air travel

Letters to the editor published Oct. 23, 2020

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Irony versus Climate

Lately it seems like Irony has taken over as Editor-in-Chief at media… Continue reading

Evan Lafreniere races downhill during the U Kon Echelon Halloweeny Cross-Country Race on Oct. 16. (Inara Barker/Submitted)
Costumed bike race marks end of season

The U Kon Echelon Bike Club hosted its final race of the… Continue reading

Smartphone showing various applications to social media services and Google. (Pixabay photo)
National media calling for level playing field with Google, Facebook

In Canada, Google and Facebook control 80 per cent of all online advertising revenues

Education Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee, right, before question period at the Yukon legislative assembly in Whitehorse on March 7, 2019. The Yukon government announced Oct. 19 it has increased the honoraria rates for school council members. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Honoraria increased for school council members

Members of school councils throughout the territory could soon receive an increased… Continue reading

Triple J’s Canna Space in Whitehorse on April 17, 2019, opens their first container of product. Two years after Canada legalized the sale of cannabis, Yukon leads the country in per capita legal sales. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon leads Canadian cannabis sales two years after legalization

Private retailers still asking for changes that would allow online sales

A sign greets guests near the entrance of the Canada Games Centre in Whitehorse on June 11. The city announced Oct. 16 it was moving into the next part of its phased reopening plan with spectator seating areas open at a reduced capacity to allow for physical distancing. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
CGC reopening continues

Limited spectator seating now available

Most Read