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Mother launches civil suit to pay for daughter's ongoing care after she was struck by vehicle

Vehicle struck two daughters on Central Saanich Road in 2018; one died, the other was badly injured
Ellen Ward, right, with Marnie Green, her best friend's daughter, at the Victoria courthouse on Monday. Ward has launched a civil suit to ensure that her daughter Tracey, who suffered a traumatic brain injury when she was struck by a vehicle in 2018, will be cared for. TIMES COLONIST

The mother of a Greater Victoria woman who was critically injured when she was struck by a Jeep Cherokee on Central Saanich Road four years ago is suing the driver, the car dealership and a woman who was trying to buy the Jeep.

Ellen Ward’s daughter Kim Ward was killed in the Aug. 27, 2018, collision. Her younger daughter, Tracey, now 51, sustained a serious brain injury that has paralyzed her left side.

Ward, 81, is suing the driver Anthony Thomas, the Harris Victoria dealership and Aggatha Siah, who signed a purchase agreement to buy the Jeep.

“Tracey is going to need money to live on for the rest of her life,” Ward said Monday. “She’ll never be able to work again and it costs a lot of money to pay for her care home and the therapists.”

Last week, the criminal case against Thomas wrapped up and is now awaiting a decision from the judge.

In an opening statement before nine other lawyers, Darren Williams said the court will have to decide who owned the Jeep and how Thomas got the keys to drive it.

Williams said the court will hear that Siah and partner Farrah Sylvester went to Harris Victoria on Aug. 18, 2018, to buy a bigger vehicle. They were in Siah’s Chevrolet Cruze that she had bought from Harris Victoria a year earlier.

Siah signed a purchase agreement to buy a new 2019 Jeep and Harris Victoria’s financing department applied to a lending company for financing, said Williams. The financing did not receive final approval that day, but a Harris Victoria employee took the plates off Siah’s car and put them on the Jeep.

Siah was told she could take the Jeep home until the financing was approved, then she could return to the dealership to finalize the documents, said Williams.

The Harris Victoria employees did not advise Siah or Sylvester that there were restrictions on the Jeep or who could drive it. Sylvester drove the Jeep off the lot later that day, said Williams.

“No transfer papers were signed for either the Jeep or the Cruze that day or any time thereafter,” he said.

Harris Victoria continued to communicate with the lending company over the next nine days for financing approval. On the end of the ninth day, the Jeep struck Kim and Tracy Ward.

The court will also hear that Siah and Sylvester frequently visited Sylvester’s mother, Hellen Jack, at her home on Central Saanich Road.

Sylvester’s son Wayne was a close friend and cousin of Thomas. They worked together during the day in the summer of 2018 and hung out at Jack’s home before dinner fixing dirt bikes.

Thomas, 29, was the only man at the house who had a valid driver’s license. He was often asked to run errands for the family, said Williams.

On the day of the collision, Thomas was outside with Wayne. Sylvester gave the keys to another friend, Leonard Paul, and asked him to go outside and ask Thomas to pick up her son and bring him back for dinner.

Thomas drove to pick up her son, but the son said he was too tired to come for dinner. Thomas started driving back to the house, but on his way, he lost consciousness, crossed the centre line and struck the Ward sisters.

Ward testified that Tracey and Kim were at her home for dinner that evening and were going to stay the night. They were going to walk their dogs, then watch a movie.

Ward said she heard a noise and opened her door and saw Tracey’s little dog. Then a neighbour arrived and told her: “You better come quick,” she recalled.

Ward saw paramedics working on Tracey. She saw her daughters’ shoes lying in the road. She saw someone covered by a sheet but she thought Kim had already been taken to the hospital.

Later, at the hospital, she learned Kim had died. The doctors thought Tracey only had a few hours to live and asked Ward if she would donate Tracey’s organs.

Tracey was in Victoria General Hospital for almost a year. She has a serious brain injury and has lost sight in her left eye. Since the summer of 2019, she has lived in Sidney All Care Residence.

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