Framed photos of Travis Selje and other items fill the top of a dresser in his bedroom. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

Framed photos of Travis Selje and other items fill the top of a dresser in his bedroom. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

Accused’s neurologist in fatal Surrey crash trial says epilepsy can bring on amnesia

Surrey woman being tried for traffic crash that killed Surrey teen testified she has no memory of the crash and believes a seizure caused it

A Surrey neurologist who diagnosed Rituraj Kaur Grewal with epilepsy in 2019 and continues to treat her testified Friday that amnesia can be brought on by an epileptic seizure, a concussion or a combination of both.

Grewal, 26, is accused of criminal negligence causing death in the May 3, 2017 crash at the intersection of 64th Avenue and 176th Street in Cloverdale that killed 17-year-old Travis Selje. She had been driving her dad’s Cadillac and was 22 at the time.

Grewal testified last week that she has no recollection of the crash and believes she had an epileptic seizure that caused the collision.

An RCMP forensic expert testified earlier during Grewal’s trial, continuing in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster, that the Cadillac was doing 142 km/h in a 60 km/h zone just prior to hitting Selje’s Honda Prelude.

Dr. Gurwant Singh, called as a witness for the defence on Friday, is an expert in the diagnosis, treatment, symptoms and causes of epilepsy. He said seizures can be triggered by sleep deprivation, alcohol withdrawal, and drugs.

READ ALSO: Accused says she knows ‘for sure’ she didn’t deliberately cause fatal Surrey crash

READ ALSO: ‘I believe my seizure caused the accident,’ accused on trial for fatal crash tells court

READ ALSO: Forensic expert says accused’s car was doing 142 km/h in crash that killed Surrey teen

Singh has had five appointments with Grewal. The court heard she is given to convulsive seizures and complex partial seizures and also heard Grewal underwent an MRI scan that revealed an arachnoid cyst compressing the right temporal lobe in her brain.

“The main thing is impaired awareness,” Singh told the court. “They individual would look awake but they look like they are looking at distance and they do not respond to you, so they are not aware what’s happening to them.”

The first witness to approach the Cadillac after the crash testified Grewal was convulsing, her whole body was shaking, and that she was foaming and drooling with blood coming out of her mouth. Singh said that account is consistent with his epilepsy diagnosis. “It fits the criteria.”

He said it wouldn’t be brought on by trauma from an impact. Another witness earlier testified it looked like she’d been having a seizure and told the court her daughter has had seizures so she knows what they look like.

“We can’t assume what happened while she was driving,” Singh noted. “But certainly an individual, if having epilepsy, will lose control and it could lead to the incident that happened.”

The trial continues.

READ ALSO: Surrey cop found ‘crack pipe’ in jacket of accused in crash that killed teen

READ ALSO: Witness testifies car that hit Surrey teen’s Honda was going like ‘a bat out of hell’

READ ALSO: Oxycodone found in blood of driver accused in Travis Selje’s death, court heard



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

BC Supreme CourtSurrey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The development plan for a proposed Willoughby building showing a possible library site. (Pollyco/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Langley Township council says no to delay in considering Willoughby library

One councillor called for a system-wide review before making a decision

Langley sister Shannon Obando, 35, and Jen Spier, 29, started Hope in a Box, which features items from local small businesses, to fundraiser for non-profit Hope International. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley sisters Hope in a Box fundraiser: local products with global impact

All proceeds will benefit non-profit Hope International

Christian Burton is not a cold-weather kind of athlete, but he took the plunge anyway, getting dunked to help raise funds for Special Olympics. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Langley’s Christian Burton takes the plunge for Special Olympics

A freezing dip in a kiddie pool to raise money for athletes

A new Fraser Valley food hub in Abbotsford will include shared kitchen space that can be accessed by small and medium-sized businesses. (Stock photo by Robyn Wright from Pixabay)
Almost $2M to support new Fraser Valley food hub in Abbotsford

Project being developed by District of Mission and Mission Community Skills Centre

COVID-19 virus. (CDC photo)
School records 2nd COVID-19 alert this week, while employee at Langley grocer tests positive

Families of H.D. Stafford Middle were also notified on Monday

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

A woman boards a transit bus through rear doors, in Vancouver, on Friday, March 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
TransLink slow to reveal crucial details about ransomware attack, says union

Union says company took months to admit what info was stolen, including SIN and bank account details

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Most Read