Mississauga “car-surfing” accident devastates two families
Published On Mon Apr 09 2012
Daniel Ciliman, 18, is charged with dangerous driving causing bodily harm after his friend tumbled off the back of a Chevy Venture.Mississauga News
George To’s loved ones kept a vigil Monday night as the 19-year-old fought for his life at Mississauga’s Trillium Health Centre.
“He’s still in critical condition right now,” said his sister when reached by phone.
While that was all the family wanted to say, a police source told the Mississauga News that the teen’s injuries would likely leave him with brain damage should he survive.
Earlier in the afternoon, a seemingly exhausted Victoria Ciliman said her teenage son, Daniel, was trying to cope with the news that his friend was lying in the intensive care unit with severe head injuries.
The past two days had been, in a word, terrible, she said.
According to Peel police, it began early Saturday evening when To toppled off the back bumper of a brown Chevy Venture on the top floor of the parking garage at Square One Mall. He’d been hanging onto the roof of the van while it was driving around, said Const. Fiona Thivierge.
The act has been referred to as “car surfing” or “bumper surfing.” Tire treads suggested the vehicle had been moving in sharp turns.
Daniel Ciliman, 18, has been charged with dangerous driving causing bodily harm.
“He’s a good kid,” Ciliman said of her son, a University of Waterloo student who has also been a youth leader at his local church.
Both teens attended St. Francis Xavier high school in Mississauga, according to their Facebook profiles.
There are parallels to an incident in Ajax last month, when a 19-year-old was rushed to hospital after falling off the hood of a Toyota. Police said the teen climbed onto the moving car and, when it braked, flew onto the pavement and fractured his skull.
“There are doors for a reason, you’re supposed to be inside the car, not outside the car,” Ali Malik, driver of the Toyota, told the Star Monday. Malik, 19, was charged in the incident.
His father, a local veterinarian, said the ordeal has been very difficult for his son, a polite young man who is trying to concentrate on school.
The injured teen, Sher Afghana Chaudhry, refused to comment Monday, saying he wants to put the incident behind him.
While the issue has been making news in recent months (in February, a Quebec “couch surfing” incident, where a couch is attached to a vehicle, left a 22-year-old man dead), police in Durham and Peel said it’s still a rare phenomenon.
Durham Staff Sgt. Bob Elliot said he remembers making some poor decisions when he was young. It happens more than parents and the general public realize, he said of young people’s misadventures. And with social media, there’s added incentive to post videos and photos online.
“The vast majority of times people walk away, they laugh about it, they carry on,” he said. “The fact of the matter is . . . it’s costing people their lives. And it doesn’t just wreck that person’s life, it wrecks everybody’s lives . . . it’s just not worth it.”
For Victoria Ciliman, that could not have rung more true on Monday. The worried mother said her local Arabic community, as well as members of the family’s nearby Baptist church, have been praying for George to get better.
“God is good,” she said.
With files from Jennifer Pagliaro