Parents of teen killed by TTC bus launch lawsuit
Published Wednesday, May 23, 2012 1:30PM EDT
The parents of a teen struck and killed by a Toronto bus say their son would be alive if the TTC and police had been doing their jobs properly.
During a press conference Wednesday, Kathryn Wright and Bill Gillespie gave reporters documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act that they allege will prove the Toronto Police Service and the TTC were negligent on the night their son Alex Gillespie, 17, was hit by a bus while crossing Lakeshore Boulevard East in August 2010.
The family is suing the two organizations for $2 million and alleges that the TTC driver was speeding at the time of the accident.
Toronto police are expected to comment on the case Wednesday afternoon. The TTC has said it won't comment while the case is before the courts.
Alex was struck shortly after police dispersed a crowd of nearly 4,000 young people who had gathered for a music event in the Woodbine Park area.
"When the TTC concludes in the Freedom of Information log that the driver was speeding excessively for the conditions, the conditions were all kinds of kids all over the place," Wright told reporters at the scene of the accident. "We can not comprehend that someone would begin to accelerate and keep accelerating past the speed limit in those conditions."
Information from the bus's GPS shows the driver was travelling 57 km/h in a 50 km/h zone.
"The speed limit is 50, but that's almost beside the point," said Gillespie. "My question is: Why wasn't he going 10? Why wasn't he going 20? Wouldn't you slow down?"
Wright questions why there were no traffic police to help disperse the crowd, even after drivers in the area allegedly warned police about the hoards of young people crossing Lakeshore Boulevard East.
"You only have to look around you to see it is completely obvious if you have thousands and thousands of teenagers in this area immediately behind you, and you disperse them, they're going to end up on this busy road behind me," said lawyer Sean Dewart, who's representing Alex's family.
Dewart said the accident was completely avoidable.
"If police had been a little less fixated on showing their muscle and a little more concerned about people's safety this would not have happened because steps would have been taken to control the crowd properly."
The family is questioning the quality of the police investigation, which they say failed to review GPS evidence from the bus and failed to interview a witness who called the police repeatedly with information.
"Our basic position here is that there were two organizations, very large city organizations, who didn't do what they were suppose to do in the circumstances and did some things that they weren't supposed to do. And as a result we lost a very wonderful person," said Wright.
Alex, who attended Rosedale Heights Secondary School, was struck in August 2010 while crossing Lakeshore Boulevard East at a marked pedestrian crossing shortly after 10 p.m. He was trapped under the bus and emergency workers tried frantically to free him. He was pronounced dead in hospital.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Austin Delaney