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Family of woman killed in ambulance launches $1M lawsuit

Connie Halverson died last year when the ambulance she was travelling in as a patient collided with a snowplow; medic is charged with careless driving causing death
Connie Halverson was travelling as a patient in an ambulance on Feb. 20, 2022 near Wawa when the vehicle collided with a snow plow. Halverson's family is seeking $1M in damages for 'emotional shock, trauma and loss of enjoyment of life' against the paramedic driver and the Social Services administration board that oversees the service.

A $1-million lawsuit has been launched by the family of a White River woman who was killed when the ambulance she was being transported in collided with a snowplow.

At the time, Ontario Provincial Police said Connie Halverson, age 68, was killed Feb. 20, 2022 when the ambulance she was travelling in as a patient collided with a snowplow about 40 kilometres north of Wawa, Ont.

A $1-million civil lawsuit has been filed by the family of the deceased woman against paramedic Shani Larrett, who was driving the ambulance at the time of the collision, as well as the District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services Administration Board (DSSAB), which oversees paramedic service in the area.

None of the allegations in the lawsuit have been tested in court, and to date, neither Larrett nor the DSSAB has filed a statement of defence with the court office in Sault Ste. Marie.

The primary plaintiff in the lawsuit is Lloyd Halverson, husband of the deceased, along with nine other family members, including children, grandchildren and siblings.

Obtained by SooToday, the statement of claim alleges Connie Halverson was on a stretcher in the rear of the ambulance while it was being driven by Larrett en route to the Lady Dunn Hospital in Wawa. 

“The defendant driver suddenly and without warning struck the rear of a snowplow at a high rate of speed,” said the statement of claim.

According to the documents filed, Connie Halverson’s injuries were "horrific and catastrophic," including a fatal skull fracture. It further alleges she was not properly secured in the stretcher within the ambulance and ejected into the wall of the vehicle upon impact and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Among the allegations made by the plaintiffs, the collision was a result of negligence by Larrett for not securing the patient, driving too close to the snowplow at a high rate of speed and without due care and attention, as well as being on prescribed medication that impaired her ability to drive. The DSSAB is alleged to be liable for the negligence of its employee and, as owner of the vehicle, is liable for the injuries and damages suffered by the plaintiffs.

Larrett is facing separate Highway Traffic Act charges of careless driving causing death and careless driving causing bodily harm for the incident. Her next court appearance for those charges is in July.

The civil suit claims Lloyd Halverson has suffered "extreme emotional shock and trauma" and his enjoyment of life has been lessened as a result of the sudden death of his wife. 

“He has changed since his wife’s death and is filled with deep sorrow, anguish, emptiness, grief and heartbreak,” said the statement of claim. 

Similar claims of extreme shock and trauma are claimed by the children, grandchildren and siblings of the deceased. Each of the 10 plaintiffs in the matter are seeking $100,000, for a total of $1 million, plus damages and court costs, for a total of $1 million.

The plaintiffs want the civil trial to be held in Sault Ste. Marie.

Kenneth Armstrong

About the Author: Kenneth Armstrong

Kenneth Armstrong is a news reporter and photojournalist who regularly covers municipal government, business and politics and photographs events, sports and features.
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