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Family of Newmarket man killed by runaway horse launches lawsuit

Click to play video: 'The family of a Newmarket man killed by a runway horse has launched a $3M lawsuit'
The family of a Newmarket man killed by a runway horse has launched a $3M lawsuit
WATCH: The family of a Newmarket man killed by a runway horse has launched a $3M lawsuit – Apr 20, 2023

Aprim Shamoun’s widow and two children are in disbelief and grief-stricken more than five months after the 60-year-old truck driver was killed as he was driving to work.

Shamoun was travelling along Davis Drive around 2:45 am on November 11th, when his 2021 Toyota Corolla collided with a runaway horse on Davis Dr. near Keele St, in King Township.

At the time, York Regional Police said they were investigating after several horses had gotten loose from a nearby farm. YRP said the Toyota struck a horse on the road, then hit a culvert, causing the driver to be ejected from the vehicle. The 60-year-old driver, Aprim Shamoun, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Surveillance video obtained by Global News from the night of the fatal crash showed several dozen horses grazing in a nearby residential subdivision, shortly after the collision. No charges were ever laid.

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The Shamoun family has hired a lawyer and is suing the owner of the horses, the farm where the horses were being boarded, and the property owner for three-million dollars in damages.

“What’s happened is a serious tragedy and it’s just inexcusable, what occurred and there should be no reason that thirty horses should be able to escape a farm,” said 27-year-old Joseph Shemoun, the victim’s oldest child.

Shemoun’s widow, Shabnam Nobakht said the couple had just celebrated their 30th anniversary and her husband had just turned sixty. She said the death of her husband has had enormous consequences. “He was very kind, supportive, and I loved him so much and I miss him,” said Nobakht in the living room of the family’s Newmarket home.

At the time of the collision, Shemoun was on his way to work where he was a truck driver on the morning he was killed. The family said he was the sole provider, and they depended on him for financial support.

“My father was a beautiful man. He did everything for his family. He sacrificed everything for my mother, me and my sister. He was an immigrant from Iran. In May 2020, he was diagnosed with leukemia and he went into remission after six months,” Joseph explained.

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In the statement of claim, the family alleges that the defendants negligently failed to install proper and sufficient barriers around the premises of Select Stables to prevent the escape of their horses. Furthermore, they say that the defendants ought to have known about the escape of the horse(s) and they failed to notify the authorities in a timely manner, failed to corral the horses and warn the public.

Click to play video: 'Police identify victim of Newmarket, Ont., homicide'
Police identify victim of Newmarket, Ont., homicide

“These thoroughbreds we’re told, 20 to 30 of them were running down the street and he had this horrific accident and this family’s been totally devastated. So the purpose of the lawsuit is to try to help them rebuild and get some compensation for this loss which is truly immeasurable,” Justin Linden, the family’s lawyer explained. Linden added that Shamoun was killed through no fault of his own.

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In a statement of defence, Schickendanz states that the horse that died, ‘Deeply in Love’, was properly secured on the Premises within a paddock that was double fence and secured with two padlocks, saying that he was “a prudent and careful owner”.

Schickendanz also states that Shemoun was negligent himself, alleging among the particulars that he operated the vehicle at an excessive rate of speed and failed to utilize a seatbelt.

In her statement of defence, the live-in manager of the farm, Tracey Harpley denied the allegations in the statement of claim. “She has managed the farm for over 20 years, since its inception, and no horse has ever escaped from the Property prior to the incident described in this Defence.”

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None of the claims have been proven in court.

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