‘A kick in the teeth’: TTC ordered to rehire the driver who ran over and killed a 14-year-old girl. Her family is in shock

The TTC has been ordered to re-hire a bus driver whom it shot more than six years ago, when he fled and killed a 14-year-old girl.

The TTC sacked Dhanbir Shergill, now 33, after his bus hit Amaria Diljon at the Scarborough intersection six days before Christmas in 2014. He was convicted of reckless driving for his role in the eventual fall of the non-criminal Highway Traffic Act offense. Collided and fined $2,000.

Shergill and his union lodged a complaint against his firing and on 27 May the Labor Arbitrator found in his favorHe had to be reinstated, in a non-driving condition, ruling the TTC.

The decision comes as another blow to Diljohn’s family, who have endured three trials and an appeal in the bus driver’s case, and were already disappointed that they had received the harshest punishment in the death of their loved one. .

“I don’t think justice has been done to my child,” Amaria’s mother Crystal Diljohn said in an interview. “Now, hearing about the (driver reinstatement), I know for sure. There was no justice for my child, and I don’t think anyone cares about my child.”

Crystal said she is still battling depression after losing her only child, a happy girl who loved to sing and hoped to go to art school. She remembers Amaria’s violent death every time she sees a TTC bus, and wonders if she might encounter him on the transit system if Shergill is reassigned.

“I had to watch a video of this guy running over my daughter at least two, three hundred times during the test,” Crystal said. “I don’t think she should get her job back… I can never get my daughter back.”

Crystal’s cousin Darrell Diljohn called the arbiter’s award “a kick in the teeth”.

“It is absolutely disgusting, and it shows a blatant disregard for a life lost,” he said, adding that the family was upset that the TTC had not alerted them to the decision. He came to know about it when contacted by a reporter a week after the award.

Reached through a lawyer, Shergill declined to comment. A spokesperson for the amalgamated transit union Local 113, which represents TTC operators and fought to get Shergill back his job, told Star that he was not about the case “out of respect” for Amaria’s family. Will speak

The TTC opposes Shergill’s reappointment, and when the award forces the agency to offer him a position, agency spokesman Stuart Greene said in an email that “he actually returns to TTC or No, that is yet to be determined.” He said the agency has a number of non-driving roles it could offer him and is “currently reviewing the order to determine the next steps.”

“We fully understand how Amariya’s death and now this decision will affect (her family). We express our deepest condolences for the trauma they are experiencing as a result of this heartbreaking incident,” Green said.

Amaria died after 5:30 pm on 19 December 2014. According to evidence produced in court, she was a passenger on Shergill’s 133 Nielsen bus, and got off at Finch Avenue East. As she walked a short distance from the bus stop to the intersection, Shergill also stepped forward and stopped at a red light. Amaria followed the road from east to west crossing the Nielsen. She was at a crossroads, and had the right of way under the green light.

Less than two seconds after exiting Ankush, Shergill turned right at Finch and hit him. Although surveillance footage from the bus showed that there were two bumps as the bus was passing over Amaria, Shergill was unaware that he had hit her, and continued on his route. She died at the scene.

Shergill initially faced criminal charges, including death due to dangerous driving, but in 2016 a judge determined there was insufficient evidence to go to trial. Shergill was tried the following year on charges of the Highway Traffic Act, but the same judge dismissed them.

The Crown successfully appealed, and after a new trial Shergill was found guilty of reckless driving under the Highway Traffic Act in October 2020. Apart from the fine, he also got one year probation.

Shergill addressed the court before the sentencing, and told Amaria’s family that he was “very sorry” and understood there was nothing he could say to relieve their pain. “I will live with this knowledge for the rest of my life. I hope we all find peace moving forward,” he said.

During the mediation, which dragged on for five years while resolving the charges against Shergill, the TTC argued that the accident that killed Amaria could have been prevented and that the agency had provided Shergill with training to avoid it, arbitrator Lorne According to the summary of the case in the decision of Slotnik.

The TTC also noted that it had fired Shergill once earlier in 2011, when he was caught driving using a Bluetooth headset, but later reinstated it.

The transit agency argued that Shergill “cannot be relied upon to comply with TTC policies and procedures” and that the agency should not be forced to reassign him, according to Slotnick’s summary.

Local 113 believed that Shergill was responsible for the fatal collision, had shown remorse and was “otherwise a good employee.”

Slotnik sided with the Union. He wrote that while there was no question of Shergill being responsible for the “horrific incident” of Amaria’s death, the courts had determined that it was the result of a momentary lapse. “As dire were the consequences,” the accident had not “irreparably damaged the employment relationship” with TTC, the arbitrator found.

But when Slotnik ordered the TTC to reinstate Shergill, they concluded that it would not be appropriate to allow him to resume operating the transit vehicle because his record shows a “very casual approach to driving safety” so that Be sure that he will not take any risk. .

According to the arbitrator’s decision, Shergill has been working in the Solid West Division of the City of Toronto since leaving TTC. City spokesman Brad Ross said he could not comment on whether Shergill was driving the garbage truck, but that employees are screened before they are allowed to operate a municipal vehicle, and the city is “unsafe driving or HTA punishment.” reviews any incident” raise

Ben Spur is a Toronto-based reporter who covers Transportation for the Star. Contact him by email at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter: @BenSpurr

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