‘Whenever I wanted any help, he’d always come’
Loved ones remember father of three who died after being struck by dump truck
CALVI LEON STAFF REPORTER
The man killed after he was struck by the driver of a dump truck at a busy intersection last week was a father of three who helped run a nearby bar.
Theivarupan Theiventhram, 53, had just unlocked the doors to the bar Champions on Eglinton, on Eglinton Avenue West, and was walking to a Tim Hortons when he was hit by a vehicle at Eglinton and Dufferin Street on Monday morning, his friend Marearasa Mariampillai told the Star.
“He was very soft-spoken and friendly,” said Mariampillai, who works at an off-track horse betting bar near the intersection.
Theiventhram, an Oshawa resident, owned a sports bar in Bowmanville but would often commute to Toronto, said Thani Shan, his cousin and owner of Champions on Eglinton. “Whenever I wanted any help, he’d always come.”
According to police, the crash happened at about 10:30 a.m. when a dump truck driver travelling westbound on Eglinton turned left to head southbound on Dufferin. The vehicle collided with a pedestrian crossing from the southwest corner of the intersection. The man was rushed to hospital, where he later died.
Police said the driver remained at the scene and was co-operating with investigators.
There are signs that prohibit left turns at the intersection and the cause of the crash is still under investigation.
Police haven’t released the name of the pedestrian killed in the crash — the 35th traffic fatality and 23rd pedestrian death this year in Toronto — but friends and loved ones have identified Theiventhram as the victim.
Born in Murasumoddai, Sri Lanka, Theiventhram moved to Canada more than 30 years ago and lived in Oshawa with his wife, two daughters and son, his sister-in-law Thara Manivannan said.
He was also a member of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam, which represents Tamils living outside Sri Lanka and aims to establish a sovereign Tamil state.
The second eldest of his seven siblings, Theiventhram would “take care of all his brothers and sisters” and even used his own savings to support relatives and the Tamil community back home in Sri Lanka, Manivannan said. “Some people didn’t have a home, so he built a new home and gave it to them.”
Craig Brown, a nearby resident and regular patron of Champions, said he was on the opposite side of the lights at Dufferin and Eglinton when he witnessed the tragedy. He recalled Theiventhram’s last moments.
“It’s sad,” he said, describing him as a generous and “very cool guy.”
“I wouldn’t wish that on anybody. It was a terrible scene.”
The crash marks the second time in less than a month a pedestrian has died in a collision involving a dump truck. An woman was fatally struck by the driver of a construction truck while using her walker at Davisville Avenue and Mount Pleasant Road on Oct. 16.
There is a general misconception that someone in a truck obviously sees a pedestrian, said Const. Sean Shapiro with Toronto Police Traffic Services, stressing commercial trucks have significantly larger blind spots than passenger vehicles.
He said the safest option for a pedestrian is to let the truck take priority and go ahead. “It’s sad to put the onus on the pedestrians, but it’s for everyone involved. We have to be focused on traffic safety for our own survival.”
Days after the latest crash, residents and business owners expressed a mix of trepidation and frustration over safety at the intersection.
Turning left onto Dufferin from Eglinton is prohibited, yet many motorists appear to ignore that signage, said Tina Skiadopoulos, coowner of Landmark Restaurant and Tavern on Eglinton.
She recounted an incident a few years ago where she narrowly avoided getting hit by a vehicle while crossing at the lights. “Luckily, I had a quick reflex, and I moved back. It almost killed me.”
Skiadopoulos suggested that the city “re-evaluate” the intersection and add more safety measures.
A small memorial of candles and flowers was set up at the intersection’s southwest corner days after Theiventhram’s death. A candle and a donation bin labelled with the name Robert — a nickname Theiventhram was given from patrons and friends — sat atop the bar at his workplace.
A visitation for Theiventhram is scheduled for Sunday at Ajax Crematorium and Visitation Centre, followed by a funeral service on Monday.
Toronto Star Newspapers Limited