Ontario Provincial Police cruiser, June 21, 2019. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

Victims of Moraviantown crash filing $7 million lawsuits

The families of two Indigenous people are filing a combined seven-figure civil suit after a life-taking and life-altering collision.

In 2016, Bailey Jacobs was killed and Tanner Whiteye was left with permanent paralysis when a Chrysler 300 turned south onto Centre Street in Moraviantown, hitting both pedestrians and leaving another unharmed.

The incident left Jacobs to suffer “serious and ultimately fatal injuries, “while Whiteye was left with “serious and permanent injuries.”

Court documents obtained by Blackburn News show both Jacob’s and Whiteye’s families are filing separate suits seeking damages that total more than $7 million. Jacobs’ grandmother and four siblings are suing for $650,000 for damages pursuant to the Family Law Act. Whiteye has filed a lawsuit in the amount of $6 million for general and special damages. His mother, Yolanda, is looking for $500,000 in damages pursuant to the Family Law Act.

There are four parties facing lawsuits as a result of the collision. Now 24 years-old, Brayden Hopkins from Thamesville is named as the operator of the black 2008 vehicle which was involved in the collision. A statement of claims names Dean Altiman as the owner of the car making him lawfully responsible for Hopkins’ alleged negligence. The Delaware Nation at Moraviantown Band Council is named in the suits, with the documents indicating that “at all material times the defendant (the band council) owed a duty of care to persons travelling along Centre Road.”

This includes the well being of Whiteye and Jacobs, the statement reads.

None of the defendants appeared in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on Tuesday.

The OPP conducted an almost year-long investigation into the crash and determined the driver of the vehicle was not at fault. There were no charges laid as a result.

Since then, police have remained tight-lipped regarding the results of their investigation.

Court documents also show an M. Hopkins as one of the assisting officers who responded to the scene, there is no confirmation on whether the officer is related to the defendant.

Blackburn News reached out to the OPP for further clarification on what the investigation determined throughout the course of 2017, but has not yet received a response.