At least this driver stopped, rather than drive all the way home. I hope that the fellow who was hit will come through alright. (no pun is inteneded).

Man lodged in windshield after being hit
Family wants suspect in custody: 'We can't take the pain'

Chad Skelton Vancouver Sun Wednesday, October 01, 2003

CREDIT: Ian Smith, Vancouver Sun

Waiting to hear about the condition of Harcharan Grewal, who was struck in a crosswalk Monday night are his wife, Rajwant Grewal (left), grandson Harjot Grewal and son Jagjiwan Grewal. Police say the driver was prohibited from being being the wheel.

Surrey's Harcharan Grewal, 77, was struck by a car Monday night. Here he holds grandson Harjot Grewal, with granddaughter Sukhman Grewal (left) and Anoob Grewal. Grewal was hit as he was walking in a marked crosswalk on 124th Street in Surrey. Both his arms and legs were broken in the accident, his son says.

The family of a 77-year-old Surrey man seriously injured in a horrific accident that left him lodged in a car windshield say they are overcome with worry as they wait for news of his condition.

"The whole family is upset," Harinder Cheema, Harcharan Grewal's daughter, said Tuesday. "We can't take the pain." The family also wonders why a suspect arrested shortly after the accident is not in custody.

"He should be in jail," said Grewal's youngest son Ranbir. "I don't know what's going on."

Grewal was walking home from the Sikh Temple on Scott Road Monday about 7 p.m. when he was struck in a crosswalk by a car northbound on 124th Street at 69A Avenue. He was launched into the air by the collision and crashed head-first through the windshield.

Late Tuesday, he was in serious condition at Royal Columbian Hospital.

The 51-year-old driver of the car -- who police say was prohibited from driving -- pulled off at the nearby Khalsa School and, according to some witnesses, tried to remove Grewal from the windshield.

"One of the witnesses told him not to touch the victim for fear of worsening his injures," said Surrey RCMP Sergeant Jim Simmill. "In essence, he told him to leave him there."

As the crowd grew the man fled on foot but police arrested a suspect a short time later at his home.

The driver had not been charged Tuesday but Simmill said police will continue the investigation before deciding whether to recommend charges.

Simmill said alcohol was a factor in the accident but would not comment on the reason for the driver's prohibition, or his driving history.

Grewal's family first learned of the accident when one of the witnesses called Grewal's eldest son Jagjiwan.

"They phoned my brother and asked: 'Did your dad come home?'" said Ranbir. "He said no. And they said: 'There's been an accident and it looks like your dad.'"

Grewal's family said they were at Royal Columbian visiting him Tuesday, but he wasn't conscious.

"He's breathing with a machine," said Jagjiwan. "Both his arms and legs are broken."

Jagjiwan said staff at the hospital told the family that when Harcharan -- who speaks little English -- first came in, "he was speaking a little bit, but they couldn't understand what he was saying."

Harinder said doctors told the family their father would have a CAT scan --computed axial tomography -- late Tuesday to help identify the extent of his injuries.

"They'll find out if he's paralysed, or has brain damage," said a tearful Harinder.

Grewal came to Canada from India in 1987, sponsored by Harinder, who came in 1981.

"He was very happy here," Harinder said. "He'd always say how lucky we were to be here."

Grewal has seven grandchildren, ranging in ages from two to 21.

Harinder said her father worked for many years on a berry farm and as a security guard.

But in recent years, he spent most of his time with his family -- at at the Scott Road temple seniors' centre, where elderly Sikh men gather to play cards and chat.

"He has lots of friends at the seniors centre," said Jagjiwan. "They're all together and can pass the time."

He said he would regularly walk back from the temple to Ranbir's home, where he lives, in the early evening. Jagjiwan said his father never learned to drive.

Grewal's family said he's a very kind and generous man.

"He's a wonderful man," said Harinder. "I can't explain it. He looks after everybody. He helps everybody."

Jagjiwan said his father's accident has been particularly hard on Harcharan's wife, Rajwant -- who has had difficulty even discussing the accident with the family.

"It's a very difficult situation," Jagjiwan said. "She's quiet right now. She's not talking.

The accident has also been difficult for Harcharan's youngest grandchildren, who have difficulty understanding what's going on -- or that they may lose their grandfather.

"They don't know what the meaning of death is," Jagjiwan said. "They only see death on TV. They're asking me what happened to their grandfather. They're asking: 'Can he speak? Can he walk?' It's very difficult."

Jagjiwan said the tragedy was made even more difficult Tuesday morning, when he had to walk his two daughters to the Khalsa School -- right by the crosswalk where their grandfather was struck.

Meanwhile, Grewal's eight-year-old grandson Manbir -- one of Ranbir's two children -- has tried to comfort others in the family.

"Last night he woke up and saw his mother in the bathroom crying," Harinder said. "He said: 'Why are you crying? Grandpa will be OK.'"

The case bears a resemblance to the infamous U.S. case of Chante Mallard, who, after a night of drinking and drugs, struck a 37-year-old homeless man walking along a highway in Texas then drove home, leaving the man crumpled in her windshield in her garage to die. She was convicted of murder and sentenced in June to 50 years in prison.

cskelton@png.canwest.com

Copyright 2003 Vancouver Sun


I am more than a little suprised that no charges have been laid, just for driving while prohibited and with alcohol as a factor.. something wrong in that one.