Driver involved in crash that killed Surrey teenager found not guilty of criminal negligence
VANCOUVER -- The driver involved in a 2017 crash that killed Surrey, B.C., teenager Travis Selje, a promising athlete who spent years in the Whitecaps residency program, has been found not guilty on all counts.
Rituraj Kaur Grewal's verdict was delivered Thursday in B.C. Supreme Court, where she was found to have suffered a seizure behind the wheel on the day Selje was fatally injured.
Grewal was 22 at the time of the accident. Selje was just 17.
The court heard testimony that Grewal was having a medical episode on May 3, 2017, that resulted in her colliding with several vehicles in Surrey, including Selje's car, which was struck from behind at 64th Avenue and 176th Street. He succumbed to his injuries two days later in hospital.
Grewal was later diagnosed with epilepsy. Witnesses testified to seeing her shaking and convulsing after the crash.
She was charged with criminal negligence resulting in death for the collision that killed Selje, and criminal negligence resulting in bodily harm and failure to stop at the scene of an accident for two other collisions.
The victim's family members and friends were in tears as Grewal's verdict was handed down.
Outside court, Selje's sister said they feel let down by the justice system.
"It just tears my already broken heart into a billion more pieces, just to know there's not even one shred of justice that can happen here," Sara Selje said. "I will never see him graduate high school or go to college, or be an aunt."
On top of being a gifted athlete, the victim was a straight-A student.
Crown prosecutors tried to argue that Grewal had been deliberately driving in an "aggressive and unsafe" manner on the day of the crash, but the judge ultimately agreed with the defence's case that she was experiencing a seizure.
While delivering her decision, Justice Jeanne Watchuk said Grewal had been forthright on the witness stand, and that she appeared deeply remorseful about what happened.
Watchuk said she accepts the evidence provided by doctors that the accused had undiagnosed epilepsy at the time of the accident.