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

Just Posted

Dancers from the Sts’ailes First Nation perform the eagle dance at a welcome banner dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 10. “Ey Swayel” is a Halq̓eméylem term translated as ‘a good day.’ (Adam Louis/Observer)
VIDEO: ‘A good day’ for Agassiz school as Sts’ailes welcome banner is dedicated

Banner hangs above the school’s entrance, welcoming students, staff and visitors

Missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs was found deceased on Thursday evening (June 17).
Body of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs found

Hobbs was reported missing Monday after leaving his job site in Langley

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

A tenant walks in front of her home on Boundary Road on Friday, June 18, 2021 after it was destroyed by fire the night before in Chilliwack. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack family homeless after fire rips through house on Abbotsford border

Turtle rescued, no one seriously hurt following Boundary Road fire in Chilliwack

Wild rabbits are all over Chilliwack, but people often think they’re someone’s lost pet and try to ‘save’ them. But the owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room says good intentions can have bad consequences for wild animals. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room asks people to leave wild animals in the wild

Amber Quiring says people who think they’re helping are actually doing more harm than good

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

A lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS
No winning ticket sold for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

The huge jackpot has remained unclaimed for several weeks now

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read