Friday, October 31, 2003 (A7)
A former Vernon resident's five year odessy to travel the globe has become
bogged down in a Brazilian legal battle.
"People were panicking and climbing out the window. I followed
them down the tailgate of a sideways dump truck into the sand it had been
transporting and past a body lying dead still on the ground," said
Straw in a letter to his father in Vernon shortly after the crash.
The 25-year-old suffered a broken jaw and lost two teeth in the crash,
leaving him in need of extensive dental surgery and orthodontic treatments.
But Straw's recovery has been put on hold until the matter could be resolved
in the Brazilian courts. And Straw has been advised by his lawyer not
to leave the country until a settlement is reached.
"It's been very frustrating. It's almost like he's a prisoner,"
said Nara's father Dave Straw. "Because he's so far away and the
legal system is so different, it's hard to know what a person can do."
Straw said the bus company had initially agreed to pay for his son's
treatment and expenses as well as damages. But he said the payments to
Nara soon stopped, and the company reported him to immigration officials
for overstaying the six-month term on his VIsa.
Although Straw's lawyer had his visa extended, the company is still using
his illegal overstay in Brazil as its primary defence in the court case.
The next court date is set for mid-November.
"He's doing all right, but it's a long, slow process," said
Straw, who hopes to have his son back home in Vernon by Christmas.
Straw is hoping to get as much support as possible from the community, and urges residents to contact their MP, the Canadian consulate in Brazil and officials with the Brazilian government.