Travis Selje with Rex, the family dog he got to enjoy for the final six months of his life. (Submitted photo)

Travis Selje with Rex, the family dog he got to enjoy for the final six months of his life. (Submitted photo)

Grieving Surrey dad wants Crown to appeal Travis Selje fatal crash acquittal

‘Because this is not fair, this cannot stand,’ Miki Selje says

The father of Surrey’s Travis Selje, who was killed in a 2017 Cloverdale crash, says he feels betrayed by the justice system after the driver who crashed into the 17-year-old boy’s car at high speed was acquitted of criminal negligence causing death.

“This country has taken everything from me and now it’s spit in my face,” said Miki Selje, whose family waited nearly four years for a trial to take place. “I want them to appeal. I will go through this again. Because this is not fair, this cannot stand.

“I would want them to do it again. I would go through this hell again,” the grieving father told the Now-Leader. As for the finding of not guilty, he said, “I think it’s bullshit.”

Dan McLaughlin, a spokesman for the BC Prosecution Service and Ministry of the Attorney General, said Monday that the prosecution service “is reviewing the recent ruling carefully” and that “no decision will be made regarding the next steps until the review is complete. There will be no comment on the ruling or the process of review while it is underway.”

Justice Jeanne Watchuk found Surrey’s Rituraj Kaur Grewal, 26, not guilty of criminal negligence causing death in the crash. Grewal had been driving her father’s Cadillac at age 22 when it slammed into Selje’s Honda Prelude at high speed on May 3, 2017 at the intersection of 64th Avenue and 176th Street. The boy died in hospital two days later.

Grewal testified she has no recollection of the crash and believes she had an epileptic seizure that caused the collision. Watchuk found her to be a “forthright” witness and “credible in her evidence, generally.

“The charges alone do not reflect the enormity of this tragedy,” Watchuk said, launching into her 47-page reasons for decision last Thursday. After discussing her reasons for decision for more than two hours, Watchuk told Grewal, “You are free to leave the courtroom.”

“After consideration of the evidence, the facts as found based on the totality of the evidence, the law and the application of the law to these facts, all as set out above, I therefore find you Ms. Grewal not guilty on counts one, two and three.”

READ ALSO: Defence says evidence ‘compelling, overwhelming’ to acquit Surrey woman in deadly crash

An RCMP forensic expert testified during the trial, which was heard in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster, that the Cadillac was doing 142 km/h in a 60 km/h zone just prior to hitting Selje’s car.

The court also heard during the trial that Grewal crashed into another car but kept going until she hit Selje’s car further on down the road. For that she was also charged with failing to remain at the scene of a collision, as well as criminal negligence causing bodily harm in the case of another driver, Gary Mordecai. Watchuk also acquitted her on these charges.

The judge found Grewal to be “continuingly troubled” by the collision and “deeply remorseful for the death of Travis and the harm done by her driving.”

“I accept her evidence in its entirety,” the judge said. She concluded Grewal was not controlling the Cadillac as it accelerated and changed lanes prior to the fatal crash.

READ ALSO: Crown says defence case epilepsy caused fatal Surrey crash fails on balance of probabilities

She accepted that Grewal’s driving was consistent with the medical evidence presented by the defence that she suffered from a progression of epileptic seizures “wherein there is an increasing loss of motor control.”

“On the totallity of the evidence that Ms. Grewal was having an epileptic seizure,” she said, “the Crown has not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that it was unreasonable for Ms. Grewal to be driving a car on May 3rd, 2017.”

Miki Selje said Monday he sensed what the verdict would be before the judge started in on her reasons.

“I knew what she was going to say when I walked into the courtroom. We went into a different courtroom, we went in one where people watching were behind glass, she was behind glass, there was six guards in there. I knew she was going to walk, as soon as I walked into that courtroom.”

READ ALSO: Epilepsy-defence driver found not guilty in crash that killed Surrey teen Travis Selje

Selje’s death tore a hole in the community.

“He was an incredible human being,” Miki Selje said of his son.

The 1,095-seat Cloverdale Baptist Church was filled to capacity on May 17, 2017 as mourners celebrated the straight-A honour roll student’s life. His dad told the Now-Leader at the outset of the trial in February that there’s “no such thing” as closure.

“People always say, ‘Oh, you’re looking for closure.’ No. There’s no such thing as closure. It’s a wound that will never close, so there’s no closure,” he said.

“My soul is gone. I am no longer a whole person.”

Grewal testified during the trial that she has no criminal record.

According to court documents, however, Rituraj Kaur Grewal, age 26, has 10 traffic violations, nine of which were deemed by the courts to be “not disputed.”

Rituraj Kaur Grewal was ticketed on June 29, 2013 in Surrey for speeding and failing to display a new driver sign. On Sept. 3, 2013 she was ticketed for speeding in Vancouver, and found guilty. And on Nov. 3, 2015 she was ticketed in Surrey for failing to produce a drivers licence or insurance, and driving a motor vehicle without due care and attention.

On Nov. 19, 2015 she was ticketed in Surrey for “failing to yield after stop.” On Jan. 7, 2016 she was ticketed in Langley for failing to wear a seatbelt and on Nov. 19, 2016 she was ticketed in Langley for using an electronic device while driving.

On Dec. 16, 2016 she was ticketed for speeding, as well as driving without reasonable consideration.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram  and follow Tom on Twitter

BC Supreme CourtCriminal JusticeSurrey

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

Just Posted

Ripy Jubbal of Abbotsford has received a 30-month jail sentence for the fraudulent use of credit cards and credit card data. (Facebook photo)
Abbotsford woman sentenced for $80K in fraudulent credit card purchases

Ripy Jubbal and spouse used identities of 19 different victims, court hears

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. (File photo)
UPDATE: 2 cougars killed following attack in Harrison Mills

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

....
Abbotsford graphic designer pitches Flyers rebrand for AHL team

Alex Svarez suggests new affiliate team turns back the clock and brings back Flyers moniker

Mike Haire, a former vice-principal at W. A. Fraser Middle School in Abbotsford, began court proceedings on Monday, May 3 in New Westminster for two child pornography offences.
Trial paused for former Abbotsford vice-principal charged with child porn

Judge reserves decision on admissibility of evidence against Mike Haire

Abbotsford’s Jake Virtanen is now under investigation from the Vancouver Police Department following sexual misconduct allegations. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
Vancouver police investigating sexual misconduct claims against Canucks’ Jake Virtanen

Abbotsford native remains on leave with the Vancouver Canucks following recent allegations

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. CDC updates info, acknowledging small respiratory droplets can spread COVID-19

Large droplets, not aerosols had been fixture of public health messaging for many months

A picture of Shirley Ann Soosay was rendered from a postmortem photographer and circulated on social media. (DDP graphic)
B.C. genealogist key to naming murder victim in decades-old California cold case

In July 1980, Shirley Ann Soosay was raped and stabbed to death

Mary Kitagawa was born on Salt Spring Island and was seven years old when she was interned along with 22,000 B.C. residents in 1942. (B.C. government video)
B.C. funds health services for survivors of Japanese internment

Seniors describe legacy of World War II displacement

Meghan Gilley, a 35-year-old emergency room doctor and new mom was vaccinated from COVID-19 in January, while she was pregnant. She’s encouraging others to do the same. (Submitted)
‘The best decision’: B.C. mom encourages other pregnant women to get COVID-19 shot

Meghan Gilley, 35, delivered a healthy baby after being vaccinated against the virus while pregnant

Former Vernon Panthers football standout Ben Hladik of the UBC Thunderbirds (top, in a game against the Manitoba Bisons, <ins>making one of his 38 Canada West solo tackles in 2019</ins>), was chosen in Tuesday’s 2021 Canadian Football League draft. (Rich Lam - UBC Thunderbirds photo)
B.C. Lions call on Vernon standout in CFL draft

Canadian Football League club selects former VSS Panthers star Ben Hladik in third round of league draft

Most Read