A ten year old girl is suing her father for 10 million dollars for staring a chain of events that lead to a horrific road rage incident.
Kaitlyn Timko's father was driving her back to her mother's house after a visit with him when another driver shot him in the head during a road-rage dispute in Philadelphia. He slumped over the wheel and the car was bloodied as Kaitlyn sat in the back seat.
Neither the four bullets fired nor the flying glass struck the 9-year-old. But she was barely responsive when a counselor interviewed her that week, and her mother said she remains traumatized two years later.
Now Kaitlyn - through her mother - has sued her dad, charging that he set off a chain of events that led to the gunfire by cutting off the other driver.
"He cannot provoke other drivers, especially when he has his kid in the car," plaintiff lawyer Christopher Culleton said. "Mr. Timko gave him the finger, through the sunroof. That escalated the situation."]
The October 2009 expressway shooting near the Walt Whitman Bridge left Thomas Timko with permanent brain injuries, a disfiguring scar and high medical debts. Shooter Christian Squillaciotti, a schizophrenic ex-Marine, is serving a 13- to 26-year prison term after being convicted of two counts of attempted murder and weapons charges.
Timko's lawyer calls the shooting unforeseeable - and argues that his client did not directly cause it.
"In no way was Mr. Squillaciotti's act of shooting another driver a normal consequence of driving into the lane of travel of another vehicle," lawyer Kevin McNulty wrote in a motion to dismiss the case. "Mr. Squillaciotti is the proximate cause of her alleged emotional distress, not her own father."
I think this is wrong and makes me angry at the daughter and mother. Yes, he cut off the driver that lead to this incident, but everyone at one point or another on the road have done things deemed "reckless" whether is talking on the phone and driving, switching radio stations and driver, not having both hands on the wheels, or not having an indicator light on while changing lanes, or cutting someone off by mistake or because we're in a hurry. While I agree it is reckless, driving itself is a risky thing and there are certain things that within the acceptable realms. How can anyone foresee someone coming back and shooting you for cutting them off? I don't know, I'm at a loss at what to think, but I hope the girl and mother don't win. The father has probably suffered as much if not more MORE than the daughter and this is like vindictive behavior because you're angry at him for making a mistake.
This whole article however seems contradicting and raises question. If a mother and daughter are suing the father... how does it not "break" their relationship and cause tension? So.. at this point, I think the mother and daughter are suing the father to get money to cover medical cost. And since they are going after the fathers auto insurance, it seems like a ploy to get money to cover the daughters medical needs and I can sort of see the father going through it. I don't know.
Timko was driving his daughter home that day from his home in New Jersey, where they had gone swimming and shopped for clothes. The dispute occurred on the bridge, and continued until the shooting on a nearby expressway. Timko managed to bring his car to a stop on the shoulder.
A woman who saw Kaitlyn's face pressed against a rear window stopped to help the child.
Hardwerk does not accuse Timko of routinely driving recklessly, or using profanities, in their children's presence. And there are no custody or child-support fights, and the lawsuit has not caused a rift between them, or between Timko and Kaitlyn, Hardwerk said.
"She knows why I'm doing it. She knows it's for her well-being," Hardwerk said.
Timko's visits with his children continue - but at Kaitlyn's request, his girlfriend does the driving, Hardwerk said.
McNulty argues in court papers there is case law to support his position that Timko's actions "are too remote" to have directly caused Katilyn's alleged emotional distress.
He noted that in 2000, a state Superior Court ruled against a Philadelphia police officer who lost her job after shooting her husband with her service revolver, then sued a hospital that had misdiagnosed her newborn baby with syphilis.