Family of girl killed in fatal Highway 6 crash files lawsuit against police, children's services
Published Wednesday, October 9, 2019 7:16PM EDT
KITCHENER - The impact of a tragic crash that killed two teens two years ago is still being felt today.
What started off as a police pursuit in Cambridge ended in a head-on crash in Highway Six.
Officers were cleared of the Special Investigations Unit by any wrongdoing, but the family of one of the teens is now filing a lawsuit against police and local children's services.
The incident started on an October morning in 2017 in front of a pizzeria.
Someone called 911 that morning, saying they saw what looked like an abduction. Twenty minutes later, the 15-year-old Nathan Wehrle and 16-year-old Taryn Hewitt were dead.
Last month, the Hewitt family filed a $500,000 lawsuit for the loss of her companionship, claiming that it was the negligence of the Waterloo Regional Police Service that caused the crash.
In it, it says that officers should "have known that a high-speed chase was dangerous."
It goes on:
"They failed to communicate effectively with dispatch," and that "they escalated this situation and made the situation more dangerous for Taryn."
Family and Children's Services of Waterloo Region is also named in the lawsuit as a cause of the crash.
"(Family and Children's Services) had custody of Nathan Wehrle, but allowed him to escape… and had stolen vehicles…" the statement of claim reads in part, adding that they failed to adequately deal with a young person "who was impulsive… and prone to making bad decisions."
The SIU found that the responding officers that day were acting on information about a woman being abducted. It's reported that Wehrle ignored the officers and led them through the backroads of Puslinch by car.
Speeds in that chase averaged 130 km/h, with Wehrle hitting Highway 6 heading for Hamilton before his vehicle crossed the centre line and crashed.
Waterloo Regional Police say they have just received this claim and have filed their intent to defend it.
Family and Children's Services of Waterloo Region say they have not been served the claim yet, so they can't comment.
Hewitt's father was unable to comment on Wednesday.
The family will also find out later this month if there will be a coroner's inquest into this case.