Fleeing a violent homeland in 2003, José Granja and his family finally found the peace they were looking for in Surrey.
That sense of security came to an abrupt end in 2010, when the family became victim to an unprovoked vehicular attack by a drunk driver.
Granja, born in Colombia in 1956, worked for the office of the mayor in that country during a time of extreme political unrest. He saw two colleagues assassinated during a time of conflict between government, paramilitary groups and crime syndicates.
He fled to Canada as a refugee in 2003, and settled in Surrey, where he worked as a milker at a dairy farm, then as a cement finisher.
He was successful and was able to save enough money to buy a condominium for his family in Surrey.
Then, at 7:30 p.m. on June 5, 2010, life for Granja took a dramatic and violent turn.
His wife pulled into their apartment complex and seeing no places for parking in the visitors’ area, she temporarily stopped the car to unload their grandchild.
While José Granja was unloading his granddaughter, Csaba Jozsef, who was by his own admission in a blackout drunk, smashed into the passenger side of the Granja vehicle.
The impact threw Jose Granja into his car, where he bounced off the back and front seat and smashed his head on the door.
Just as Granja regained his footing, Jozsef intentionally smashed into the car again, sending Granja tumbling back into the car.
Jozsef was yelling profanities as he exited his car, and punched Granja’s wife in the face.
He then tried to punch Granja, but was too drunk to hit his target.
The police officer who attended the scene described Jozsef as “grossly intoxicated,” according to an Aug. 19 civil ruling in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.
The court awarded Granja $290,000 to pay for past and future income lost, loss of earning capacity, special damages and non-pecuniary damages.
Granja, now separated from his wife, is still dealing with the pain caused from the accident.