Travis Selje, 17. (Photo submitted)

Travis Selje, 17. (Photo submitted)

Oxycodone found in blood of driver accused in Travis Selje’s death, court heard

RCMP sample did not establish how recently drug had been taken

The woman on trial for criminal negligence causing death in the 2017 traffic crash that killed Travis Selje, 17, in Cloverdale was found to have the drug oxycodone in her blood, the court heard Monday.

The RCMP sample did not establish how recently the drug had been taken.

Rituraj Kaur Grewal, who was 24 at the time of the crash, is being tried in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster during a hearing that is expected to run from Feb. 8 to Feb. 26. She is accused of criminal negligence causing death in the May 3, 2017 traffic crash in Cloverdale that killed Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary student Travis Selje, who was an up-and-coming soccer star. The court heard that it took emergency responders 45 minutes to extract Selje from the car. He was taken to Royal Columbian Hospital suffering from multiple blunt force injuries.

The court heard he never regained consciousness after the crash and was taken off life support two days later, surrounded by his family.

The crash was at 64th Avenue and 176th Street. The Honda Prelude the teen was driving was stopped at the intersection when it was hit from behind by a black Cadillac driven by Grewal. A friend was with him in the car. The force of the impact pushed the Prelude forward, causing it to crash with a white Kia SUV driven by Gary Mordecai. The Prelude then hit a tree, near a sidewalk.

After hitting the Prelude, the court heard, the Cadillac continued onto a raised centre median and then into oncoming traffic, resulting in a head-on collision with a Mazda Protege. Grewal was charged in 2018 with criminal negligence in the operation of a motor vehicle causing death, criminal negligence in the operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm in the case of Mordecai, and failing to remain at the scene of a collision.

The court heard all vehicles involved were mechanically inspected and it was determined they had all been in proper operating condition.

READ ALSO: Accused driver in Surrey soccer teen’s traffic death on trial Monday

READ ALSO: Young woman charged in Surrey crash that killed Travis Selje, 17

READ ALSO: Two years after the death of teen soccer player Travis Selje, a Surrey family’s pain persists

Witness Gregory Nelson Toews told the court he was heading east on 64th Avenue in his minivan, with his wife and daughter, when he glanced down at his driver’s side mirror and saw a black car come up “very quickly” to his bumper.

“I believe it was a Cadillac,” he said.

“I thought it might strike my vehicle,” he said. “It could have been anywhere from inches to a number of feet.”

He said he swerved to the right to avoid getting hit as the Cadillac passed him in the left lane. Toews said the Cadillac swerved “to make its way through other vehicles,” changing lanes and as it continued it hit another vehicle. “It was either in the side or the back.” He told the court he asked his wife to dial 911 as he tried to get the Cadillac’s licence plate number.

“We lost sight of it,” he said of the car. Shortly after that, he added, they came upon a “major accident scene” with an “awful lot of debris,” and parked to help. He saw the Cadillac stopped there.

“I don’t know if I saw her in the car or as the person was leaving the car,” he said. He described the driver as a “young South East Asian female.

“I believe she appeared to be in a state of shock,” Toews said.

Witness Tania Louise Nagy told the court she’d been out for dinner with her husband and her parents that evening and was driving down 64th Avenue, with her husband as passenger. They were near 168th Street when her husband yelled “Watch out” as a Cadillac swerved into their lane in front of them. “So we slammed on our brakes and then the vehicle again came out of our lane and went into the right hand lane and then again passed into the left hand lane.”

She saw no brake lights or signals, she said. She said she tried to get its licence plate number.

Nagy testified she had to again apply her brakes because “someone had been hit” in front of them. She said she didn’t see the collision because several cars were ahead of them.

“It was constantly in and out of traffic,” Nagy said of the Cadillac. “Like, no regard for other vehicles, just in and out, no brake lights, no signals. It was quite odd, actually.”

She lost sight of the Cadillac, she told the court, until she saw it down the road, in the centre of the intersection of 176th Street and 64th Avenue. Nagy said she pulled into a gas station to see if she could help the people in the Prelude.

“That’s when I came upon a young fellow walking around without his shoes on.” She asked him if he’d been in the Prelude and he replied yes, he was.

The court heard, as part of an agreed-upon admission of facts, Constable David Smith was the first cop at the scene. He found Selje amid “extensive damage” to the driver’s side of the Prelude. He said the teen was pressed up against the steering wheel, with his legs pinched between the dash and the driver’s seat. According to Surrey firefighter Brian Reimer, emergency responders had to remove the roof, doors and windshield, partially disassemble the dashboard and cut off the steering wheel to extract the teenager from the car.

Selje’s death tore a hole in the community. 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.

“There’s no such thing as closure, either,” his father Miki Selje told the Now-Leader before the trial. “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.”

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

According to Travis Selje’s obituary, he was in the Whitecaps residency program and in 2016 returned to the Surrey United SC U16/U18 squad while also being a member of Team BC Soccer, with which he was to go to the Canada Games in August 2017.

The trial continues as the court was expected to hear from more civilian witnesses on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and police officers on Thursday.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

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

BC Supreme CourtSurrey

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

Just Posted

Longtime basketball coach Allison McNeill is worried that the COVID-19 pandemic will adversely affect high-school athletes with university athletic aspirations. (Garrett James/Langley Events Centre photo)
COVID-19: Young athletes scrambling for scholarships, opportunities amid pandemic

‘They lost their whole Grade 12 year’ says Semiahmoo basketball coach Allison McNeill

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
White Rock woman among dozens in Lower Mainland to benefit from Elder Dog program

Dog-care organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but requires more clients to serve

Travis Selje with Rex, the family dog he got to enjoy for the final six months of his life. (Submitted photo)
Defence says evidence ‘compelling, overwhelming’ to acquit Surrey woman in deadly crash

Epileptic seizure caused fatal crash that killed Travis Selje, lawyer argues in final submissions

TEASER
WATCH: Surrey-made anti-bullying video urges youth to #BlockEmDontShareEm

“Break the chain by deleting the image and never forwarding – not even to a best friend’

Surrey RCMP on scene of a crash involving a motorized scooter and a car in the intersection of 102 Avenue and City Parkway on Wednesday, Feb. 24. (Photos: Shane MacKichan)
Elderly man sent to hospital after scooter crashes with car in Surrey

Surrey RCMP say it happened at about 8:30 a.m. in the intersection of 102 Avenue and City Parkway

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

A woman boards a transit bus through rear doors, in Vancouver, on Friday, March 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
TransLink slow to reveal crucial details about ransomware attack, says union

Union says company took months to admit what info was stolen, including SIN and bank account details

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

Most Read