Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Kids suffer broken bones in rural crash

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THREE children are coping with a variety of broken bones, concussions and cuts after a serious two-vehicle crash on Highway 59 on Sunday night.

The girls were rushed to Children's Hospital in Winnipeg, where they remained on Monday: a 14-year-old girl who suffered a broken jaw and collarbone, a 10-year-old girl with broken hips and a 13-year-old girl who shielded her two-year-old cousin from the crash. She suffered broken ribs and a broken collarbone; amazingly, the toddler survived without serious injury.

The driver of the car, an 18-year-old recreation worker from Brokenhead First Nation, and a 17-year-old suffered concussions.

As the community at Brokenhead Ojibway Nation comes together to support the victims and their families, they know it could have been much worse. "The children are on their way to what is hopefully a speedy recovery," said Spring Abaunza, who witnessed the terrifying crash.

The community hopes to organize ways to support the families' costs as they set up in Winnipeg to be with their children, who remain in hospital.

The accident happened at around 8 p.m. Sunday in front of the South Beach Casino. The kids were on their way to a youth soccer game at the nearby recreation complex; as they turned west off the highway, a southbound pickup truck hauling a boat and trailer smashed into the car's side.

Witnesses said the white truck sped through the red light at a speed well above the posted limit of 80 kilometres per hour.

RCMP say alcohol is considered a factor in the crash. The truck's driver, a 40-year-old Dugald man, was taken into police custody.

In the wake of the crash, residents and leaders of Brokenhead have renewed their call for more safeguards along the busy stretch of Highway 59, which passes by a school and through a residential area, including dropping the speed limit.

"It won't be from lack of trying on our part," said Brokenhead Chief Jim Bear. "There has been accidents in the past, for sure. It's just a well-travelled highway."

Abaunza also hopes the province adds crosswalks, another set of lights and photo radar as well as checkstops, especially on weekends when returning beach traffic streaks through the town.

 

-- staff

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 18, 2012 A5

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