Kaitlyn Timko’s father was driving her back to her mother’s house after a visit when another driver shot him in the head during a road-rage dispute in Philadelphia. Kaitlyn could only watch as her father slumped over the wheel of the bloodied car. Neither the four bullets fired nor the flying glass struck the 9-year-old Kaitlyn, but she was barely responsive when a counselor interviewed her that week. Her mother said she still remains traumatized, two years later.
Now, Kaitlyn Timko is suing her father for emotional distress. Kaitlyn Timko’s lawsuit charges that his careless lane change and obscene hand gesture sparked a chain of events that led to the ordeal. The girl’s mother, Lori Hardwerk of Norristown, says she sued on her daughter’s behalf to pay for needed counseling. Hardwerk explains that the girl suffers from serious post-traumatic stress, and that TImko’s father completely provoked the situation.
The October 2009 expressway shooting near the Walt Whitman Bridge left Thomas Timko with permanent brain injuries, a giant scar and extensive medical debts. Shooter Christian Squillaciotti, a schizophrenic ex-Marine, is serving a 13- to 26-year prison term after being convicted of two counts of attempted murder and weapons charges.
Timko’s lawyer calls the shooting unforeseeable and says his client’s driving did not directly cause the girl’s alleged injuries. He claims that Mr. Squillaciotti is the actual cause of Kaitlyn Timko alleged emotional distress.
Hardwerk has never accused Timko of routinely driving recklessly, or using profanities in their children’s presence. There are no custody or child-support arguments, and the lawsuit has not caused a rift between them, or between Timko and Kaitlyn.