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Pedestrians struck by debris in horrific South Surrey crash
A critically injured pedestrian and three others were taken to hospital following a horrific South Surrey crash Tuesday morning.
"She was conscious, but unable to speak due to her injuries… pretty severe injuries," Cpl. Darren Munroe said of a senior who was airlifted from nearby South Surrey Athletic Park.
Witnesses say the woman and one other senior pedestrian were injured when they were hit by the canopy of a Ford pickup as they crossed 24 Avenue southbound at 148 Street around 9:30 a.m. The canopy flew off the northbound truck when its box was clipped by an eastbound Nissan Versa.
Impact spun the truck, sending its contents, canopy and bed liner flying. The truck came to rest on its driver's side in the northeast corner of the intersection.
Peter Manchulenko, a South Surrey resident, was third in line to cross the intersection northbound when the Nissan "came flying through."
"The light was clearly red (for the Nissan)," Manchulenko said.
"We're sitting there and we started going and all of a sudden…I saw the car coming. It was moving."
Manchulenko said he saw the canopy hit one of the pedestrians; the truck's bed liner knocked the other woman down, breaking her ankle in the process, he said.
He saw "broken bones and a lot of facial damage to one lady."
Manchulenko said he and several other drivers immediately raced to help, jumping out of their cars and rendering assistance. While he helped truck driver Claude Kreptul climb out of the vehicle's passenger side, another woman who had been westbound on 24th rushed to help one of the pedestrians.
"I just saw cars just spin around so I just jumped out of my car," the shaken Crescent Beach resident said, declining to give her name.
"I just went up and held her neck."
The victim was conscious and knew her own name, the woman said. She also repeatedly asked for her son, so the Good Samaritan drove to a nearby real estate office to notify him.
The other pedestrian was face down on the road, "semi-conscious, blood all over her."
"I really hope she's OK," the woman said.
Cradling his bloodied left arm in a towel, Kreptul, a White Rock resident, said everything happened "so fast." One car travelling in front of him cleared the intersection.
"(The Nissan driver) just nailed the back end of me and spun me 'round," he said.
The badly damaged Nissan struck the driver's side of a westbound Mazda before coming to rest about 50 feet west of the intersection.
Kreptul said he was lucky the impact point wasn't the driver door.
"I would've been dead," he said.
Taking in the aftermath – debris, broken glass and even shoes – Kreptul said his thoughts are with the pedestrians.
"I just hope these people are alright."
A third senior woman seen sitting on the truck canopy was treated for less severe injuries; nearby, a distraught young woman sat on the boulevard.
Munroe said several witnesses reported that the Nissan ran a red light, however, investigation is ongoing and collision analysts still need to reconstruct what happened.
Manchulenko was frustrated at the harm done by what he believes was a driver in a rush. It's a too-common mindset that, in this case, ended in tragedy.
"What pisses me off is everybody's always in such a hurry," he said. "All that, for this. Where did it get them?"