Monday, June 17, 2024

Canada tragedy: Family grieves loss of infant and grandparents in fatal crash

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The parents of the three-month-old baby and his grandparents visiting from India who were killed in a traffic collision in Ontario last week, have said they are unable to describe the “agony” of what are undergoing.

Ottawa Police Service officers outside a house in the Ottawa suburb of Barrhaven, Ontario, Canada, on March 7. (REUTERS)

According to a statement from the surviving family members, released by Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit or SUI, 33-year-old Gokulnath Manivannan and his wife Ashwitha Jawahar, 27, said, “We are at a complete loss of words to describe the agony and vacuum in our hearts knowing we can never hold our child Aditya Vivaan, who gave us so many precious memories in such a short time, in our hands again.”

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They also said they lacked courage to enter their home as it was “filled with our only son’s memories.” Manivannan’s father Manivannan Srinivasapillai and his mother Mahalakshmi Ananthakrishnan, both visiting from Chennai, were also killed in the multi-vehicle crash.

That tragedy unfolded after Durham Regional Police Service or DRPS officers chased a vehicle on April 29 after they suspected the driver was involved in a robbery at an alcohol store. Fleeing the scene, the driver entered a highway but was going in the wrong direction.

The fatal accident ensued, involving six vehicles. The suspect was also killed in the mishap while a 38-year-old passenger was injured.

It now appears the driver, 21-year-old international student Gagandeep Singh, was out on bail “allegedly after an attempted LCBO robbery, was facing charges for two other liquor store robberies,” according to a report in the outlet Toronto Sun.

That avoidable tragedy has also drawn the attention of the leader of Canada’s principal Opposition Conservative Party Pierre Poilivere, who posted on X, “Two wonderful grandparents and a beautiful baby were killed after a criminal – out because of Justin Trudeau’s catch-and-release laws – slammed his car into the innocent family while fleeing a robbery. Common sense Conservatives will stop the crime by bringing jail, not bail, for repeat violent offenders.”

But that will do little to assuage the trauma suffered by the survivors. As Gokulnath Manivannan’s statement said, “The pain of my own injuries pales as I grapple with the shock and loss of my parents and my only son on the same evening and the ordeal continues with my wife’s continued suffering from surgeries and repeated flashbacks of the trauma.”

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