Ramage gets day in court

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:38 AM ET

Former Maple Leafs captain Rob Ramage's preliminary hearing on two charges stemming from the car crash that killed Keith Magnuson will be held Monday at Provincial Court in Newmarket. Police allege Ramage was behind the wheel of a rented black Chrysler Intrepid on Dec. 15, 2003, when a three-car collision occurred about 5 p.m. on Rutherford Rd., just west of Pine Valley Dr., in York Region. Ramage and Magnuson, close friends and members of the NHL alumni association, had been attending the funeral of alumni executive Keith McCreary. Magnuson, who lived in the Chicago suburbs, was 56.

Ramage, now 46, was charged with impaired driving causing death, which carries a maximum life sentence, and dangerous driving causing death. Reports said their car veered across the centre line into oncoming traffic. There is a publication ban on evidence at next week's hearing, which determines whether there is enough evidence to go to trial.

WRONGFUL DEATH SUIT

In a separate case, Magnuson's wife, Cindy, his son, Kevin, and daughter, Molly, who had publicly supported Ramage during the days he spent in an Etobicoke hospital with a dislocated hip suffered in the crash, brought a wrongful-death suit against him last December. It was filed in St. Louis County Circuit Court, where Ramage has lived since his retirement.

A Magnuson family media statement after the accident said, in part, "we spoke to Rob and assured him that the family does not feel he was at fault."

Ramage and National Car Rental -- included as owner of the car's licence -- were named in the U.S. suit, which seeks unspecified damages.

"We are not suggesting that (Ramage) did this on purpose," the Magnusons' Chicago-based lawyer, Daniel Kotin, told the Chicago Sun-Times last year. "But Cindy, Kevin and Molly have suffered a great loss, both personally and financially. They need to be compensated."

Brian Greenspan, Ramage's Toronto-based lawyer, told the paper the two families remain close, despite the lawsuit.


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