An 11-year-old Philadelphia girl is suing her father for provoking another driver in a 2008 road rage shooting that left him with extensive brain damage and her with lasting emotional scars, the Daily Mail reports.
Thomas Timko was stuck in traffic on Philadelphia's Walt Whitman Bridge with then-eight-year-old Kaitlyn in the back seat when he flipped another driver the bird through the sunroof of his car, ABC News reported. His rude gesture was greeted by a hail of bullets from Christian Squillaciotti, a schizophrenic ex-Marine who fired four shots into the vehicle, striking Timko in head.
Timko survived, and Squillaciotti was convicted on two counts of attempted murder and additional weapons charges, according to the Associated Press.
Now Kaitlyn, who was not injured in the incident, is suing her father and Squillaciotti's wife Chastity, who was a passenger for the altercation she alleges stripped her of her bubbly personality and left her anxious and petrified of loud noises.
"Prior to the incident, Kaitlyn was very outgoing and energetic -- a normal little girl," Kaitlyn's mother, Lori Hardwerk told ABC. "Afterwards, she went into a shell. In addition to being extremely shy and introverted, Kaitlyn became afraid of being away from me and is very nervous when she is out of my sight."
Hardwerk has not worked since an injury 2001 and claims she can't afford psychological care for Kaitlyn. Timko is also saddled with medical debts as a result of the shooting. The pair ended their 20-year relationship in 2009, though Kaitlyn still visits with her father, ABC noted.
The tween's lawyer, Christopher Culleton, told the news network that Timko could and should have exercised greater caution with his young daughter in the car. But Timko's attorney insisted his client could never have predicted the reaction to his rude gesture.
"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," Timko's lawyer, Kevin McNulty wrote in a failed motion to dismiss the case, according to ABC.
Neither Squillaciotti nor Timko have any assets, AP reported, leaving Culleton to pursue Timko's auto insurance for negligent driving. Squillaciotti's insurance does not cover the incident because the shooting was intentional, Culleton told the publication.
But the suit does not accuse Timko of poor parenting.
"Regardless of familial relationship, there is no impediment to bringing a claim against an offending family member," Mr Culleton told the Daily Mail. "It does not imply or require hard feelings."
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