NEWS

Family of victim in fatal TTC bus crash files $3.25M suit

07/03/2013 02:14 EDT | Updated 09/02/2013 05:12 EDT
The family of a woman struck and killed in January by a TTC bus at Eglinton Avenue East and Birchmount Avenue is filing a $3.25-million civil suit against the public transport agency.

At a press conference, lawyer Dale Orlando said the suit is part of the family's bid to hold the driver and the TTC accountable for "their failure to follow the safety procedures that were put in place."

Wendy Martella, 47, was killed in the accident nearly six months ago after the bus had just picked up passengers and was beginning to proceed through an intersection.

Martella had been properly crossing the street with the "walk" sign illuminated when she was hit, Orlando said. News reports said at one point she was trapped under the bus.

The driver, Magdalene Angelidis, is due to appear in court Thursday on charges of careless driving and failing to stop at a red light.

Remembered as 'soul mate and best friend'

The victim's husband, Paul Martella, said the tragedy robbed him of his "wife, soul mate and best friend."

"We did everything together for 18 years," he said, describing his wife as a "wonderful baker" who loved to entertain. She nursed their housecat, a stray that showed up at their deck eight years ago, back to health from the brink of death.

"That's the type of woman she was," he said.

Orlando said his client's main priority isn't monetary or vindictive, but that he wants the TTC to correct its safety practices over a tragedy that was "entirely preventable."

"There's actually a bus lane the bus is able to pull into. It's out of the stream of traffic," Orlando said. "That's where people are supposed to be offloaded and onloaded on to the TTC bus."

Alleges failure to notice red light

The statement of claim alleges instead that Angelidis had already pulled out from a bus lay-by and was waiting in traffic at a green light when she broke protocol by deciding to allow passengers to board there.

Orlando alleges that Angelidis failed to notice that the light had actually turned red when she began to accelerate through the intersection.

"We don't suggest there's any ill will, obviously, on Miss Angelidis's — the defendant's — part. She may, in fact, have thought she was doing somebody a favour by allowing them to board the bus after the bus had pulled away from the bus stop," Orlando told reporters. "But on the other hand, trying to do a good turn to a passenger, by ignoring the procedures that are in place, we see what can happen."

Paul Martella said he has not been offered condolences by the TTC. He said his wife was on her way home from work at the time of the accident.

She was transported to Sunnybrook hospital but died from her injuries the following day.

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