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Police bring severely injured man into media studio to make appeal to hit and run driver

A 21-year-old Brampton, Ont., man severely injured in a hit and run has made an appeal for the driver involved to come forward.

Navindra Sookramsingh, 21, may never walk again after St. Patrick's Day hit and run

Navindra Sookramsingh suffered life-altering injuries after being hit by a car in March. Peel Regional Police are now looking for the driver of a Toyota Corolla. (Linda Ward/CBC)

A 21-year-old Brampton, Ont., man severely injured in a hit and run has made an appeal for the driver involved to come forward.

Confined to a hospital bed, his motion severely restricted by a neck brace and injuries to his body, Navindra Sookramsingh said Thursday that he doesn't hate the person who struck him. 

"It's wrong to hate because you've been hurt, and it only hurts you more," he told a room of reporters at Peel Regional Police headquarters. His mother, Anita Persaud, stood beside his bed while he struggled to speak through intense pain and emotion.

"I've come to accept that it already happened," Sookramsingh said. "I may not have the life that I wanted, but I'm thankful to be alive."

Then he addressed the unknown driver directly.

"I'm not mad at you for hitting me, because people do make accidents. And I don't want to see you get in any trouble. I just want you to be responsible for what you did to me," he said.

Sookramsingh was walking home from a St. Patrick's Day party in the early morning hours of March 17 when he was struck by a vehicle. He had been out drinking with some friends in the hours prior.

According to Peel police Staff Sgt. Gary Carty, Sookramsingh became ill and collapsed in the southbound lane of West Drive, south of Clark Boulevard, around 4:30 a.m. ET. A passing motorist was forced to swerve around Sookramsingh as he lay in the street.

That driver turned around and returned to Sookramsingh, encouraging him to stand up and leave the roadway. 

Soon after, another car approached. The driver with Sookramsingh flashed his high beams but the forewarning apparently went unnoticed, Carty said. 

The second driver slammed into Sookramsingh as he was trying to stand up, and then drove off.

"It is possible the driver was unaware that there was a pedestrian in the road," said Carty.

'I wanted to ask the driver to have mercy'

Sookramsingh's injuries are described as "life-altering." His left hip and a number of vertebrae and ribs were shattered and he sustained extensive internal damage to organs and tissue. Doctors are unable to say at this point if he will ever walk again. 

Despite tremendous pain and anxiety, Sookramsingh said he felt compelled to attend the news conference.

"I wanted to be here because I wanted to ask the driver to have mercy," he said.

"I sit in the hospital every day. I can't get out of bed. In the night it's worse because I'm sitting alone and I'm suffering from insomnia ... I'm depressed because I think about the things I could have done — that now I can barely dream of doing."

Sookramsingh's mother said she worries that she will not be able to afford the expense of her son's long recovery. He used to work to help her make ends meet.

"I know my son says that he forgives. For me, I am angry," Persaud said through tears. "Leaving him there to die was a choice."

She said she has been left guilt-stricken by her son's ordeal. 

"As a mother I promised my kids I would protect them."

'Looking for a needle in a pile of needles'

Carty made an appeal for the public to help police find the vehicle involved in the hit and run. It's described as a light-coloured Toyota Corolla produced between 2003 and 2007.

Investigators have an image of the vehicle, taken by a security camera. The video, however, did not capture the licence plate number. The Corolla probably has minor front-end damage, Carty said. 

There are thousands of vehicles of the make, model and production years currently registered in Brampton, he added.

"It's like looking for a needle in a pile of needles," Carty said. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact Peel Regional Police. 

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