Brother of man critically injured in downtown hit-and-run says he is not angry at driver
Katherine DeClerq, CTV News Toronto
Published Friday, April 19, 2019 12:57PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, April 19, 2019 7:17PM EDT
The brother of a 21-year-old man critically injured in a hit-and-run at a downtown Toronto streetcar stop on Sunday said he feels no anger towards the driver accused in the incident.
Essam Babu was standing near a glass TTC shelter at College Street and Spadina Avenue around 2 a.m. when a black SUV mounted the curb and struck him.
He was transported to the hospital in life-threatening condition. Police said on Friday that Babu’s condition has not yet improved.
“He was at his friend’s house watching the UFC that was happening that night. He texted me a few hours beforehand just to say he was watching it,” his brother, Nabil Babu, told CTV News Toronto. “He was just going home.”
According to police, the vehicle involved in the collision fled the scene. The SUV was later found by investigators on Monday, less than a day after police released a description of the vehicle.
Nabil Babu said that he received a call from police Sunday morning and was the first person to arrive at St. Michael’s Hospital. His parents arrived shortly after, travelling from Windsor, Ontario.
“It was pretty frantic the first day. I can’t really tell you how I felt because I didn’t really feel anything,” he said. “It was more like I was on a mission to get as much information about him and piece together what was going on.”
Nabil Babu said that his brother is studying computer science and cognitive science at the University of Toronto.
“I’ve always known him to get straight As. He’s gotten better grades than me and I’ve always been very, very proud of him for that,” he said. “My brother is a good guy. He is a very caring and genuine person. He will tell you the truth, even if you don’t want to hear it.”
Friends describe Essam Babu as “a happy guy” who was incredibly honest.
“He was always upbeat, always ready to go do something, always having a fun time,” his roommate Thomas Young-Aduet said.
Young-Aduet said that he had seen a news article about the collision earlier that day, but didn’t know it was Essam Babu until another friend called him.
“It felt like I was being joked with, or pranked in some kind of way. And it still feels that way.”
“The past week felt like it has been months,” another friend, Tyler Zheng, said. “Every single day you (are) just hoping he will wake up tomorrow but it’s going to be a long battle.”
After learning that the driver involved in the collision fled the scene, Nabil Babu said that he understands people make mistakes and that he is someone who “always forgives.”
“I’m not angry. I feel like, me being angry in this situation won’t help anything. I just need to take care of my brother. I don’t have time for anger. It’s not going to help the situation.”
In a news release issued Friday, police said that a suspect was in custody in connection with the collision.
“At the time (of the crash) there was lots of people in the area and there was also video. Our investigators have been working since then to try to identify the driver,” Const. David Hopkinson said on Friday morning. “They had identified the SUV, they were able to get in contact with the owner, they made arrangements for him to surrender to police, he has done so and he is now facing charges in connection with that incident.”
Toronto resident Julian Clarke has been charged with dangerous driving causing bodily harm and leaving the scene of an accident causing bodily harm. He is scheduled to reappear in court on April 23.
Investigators are asking anyone with information about Clarke’s whereabouts on Sunday to contact police or reach out to Crime Stoppers anonymously.