“Car Surfing” Wrecks A Young Man’s Life Who Sustains An Irreversible Brain Injury

Update:

 George To, left, was left with brain injuries after a car surfing accident last year. On Wednesday, his friend Daniel Ciliman was sentenced to 75 days in jail for the accident. TORSTAR NEWS SERVICES

George To, left, was left with brain injuries after a car surfing accident last year. On Wednesday, his friend Daniel Ciliman was sentenced to 75 days in jail for the accident. TORSTAR NEWS SERVICES

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This story reminds me of another situation that took place a few years ago, where someone was driving recklessly in a parking lot and his friend fell out and in that other case, his friend passed away.

Up until last year 19-year-old Daniel Ciliman lived a blameless life.

“He did all the good things we ask kids to do,” said Ciliman’s lawyer William Bain. “He was a university student. He was active at his church.”

“One stupid mistake ruined his life and his best friend’s life.”

Ciliman was sentenced to 75 days in jail Wednesday for a driving stunt that left his good friend George To with irreversible brain injuries.

Ciliman and To, who had attended high school together at St. Francis Xavier Secondary School in Mississauga, were home from university when tragedy struck.

In April of last year, To had hung onto the roof of a brown Chevy Venture as Ciliman drove around on the top floor of Square One’s parking garage.

The stunt, known as “car surfing,” went horribly wrong when To fell off the back of the van’s bumper, hitting his head.

“At this point, honestly, I don’t know if I should ask God to let him live or to take him,” To’s mother Christina told the Star shortly after the accident.

Nineteen-year-old To, a former Western University biomedical student, underwent brain surgery and survived. However, he was left permanently brain-damaged and unable to attend university.

In a victim impact statement read out Wednesday, To said he particularly regretted not being able to finish his education, according to the Mississauga News.

Ciliman, a University of Waterloo student, will serve out his prison sentence on weekends so he can complete his degree.

Bain says Ciliman’s jail time is accompanied by a two-year driving ban, 18 months probation and 40 hours of community service, which will include lecturing students about the dangers of stunt driving.

He added that his client is devastated and that he and To keep in touch.

“He was sorry it happened,” said Bain. “He clearly wasn’t thinking about the consequences.”

Neither Ciliman nor To could be reached for comment.

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