Filipino family shocked after courts release hit-and-run driver in Canada

Rodelyn Dewell, her mother and her son were injured in a hit-and-run in Scarborough, Ontario in 2019. Via @TorontoStar

After being injured in a hit-and-run incident in Scarborough, Ontario last October 2019, three members of the Dewell family were shocked to learn that the driver who caused their suffering was released by the courts.

The remains of the stroller lies in pieces as members of the Toronto Police Service conduct their investigation. Via @TorontoStar


According to the Toronto Star, a probation officer had contacted the family, letting them know that the driver who hit Rodelyn Dewell, her son and her mother had pleaded guilty and was sentenced by the courts. He was subsequently released.

The accident happened on Sunday, October 13, 2019 at the intersection of Pharmacy Avenue and Ellesmere Road. Dewell’s son was only 20 months old at the time and was in his stroller when they were struck.

The family was standing at the corner waiting for their turn to cross when a grey 2015 Dodge Journey with license plate ANXC 265 hit them.

Dewell’s son was rushed by paramedics to a trauma centre with life-threatening injuries, with Dewell and her mother also taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Remnants of Dewell’s son’s stroller remained at the scene in pieces as Toronto Police Services officers investigated.

The impact dislodged the vehicle’s license plate, which was left at the scene of the accident.

Derek Desouza was the driver of the vehicle that injured the Filipino family. He fled the scene and was arrested a few weeks later. Via @TPS


The driver, 34 year old Toronto resident Derek Desouza, was arrested by police on November 29, 2019 after a tip from the public.

He was charged with two counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm and failing to stop causing bodily harm. He was also charged with one count of dangerous operation of a vehicle, failing to stop, driving under suspension, failure to comply with recognisance and failure to attend court.

“I’m shocked because I just heard last week he’s out of jail,” Rodelyn Dewell told the Star. “I feel like it’s unfair, where is the justice for us?”

Dewell’s husband, Brent, said that they weren’t notified that the driver had submitted a plea. His wife had prepared a victim-impact statement that she never got the chance to present to the courts.

“The courts are overwhelmed, corrections is overwhelmed … and when you have a system that already doesn’t recognize victims already … (COVID-19) just makes it that much worse,” Dewell’s husband told the Star.

The veteran security guard believe’s that Ontario’s justice system favours the criminals more than the victims.

Dewell’s husband told that star that victims “are usually left out in the dark. That’s not unusual to me, but that’s something that my wife is having a hard time getting used to.”
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