Crash survivors talk about harrowing incident

Emergency crews had to pry a toddler from the arms of his 13-year-old aunt, who protected the child when a pickup truck ran a red light and T-boned their car.

More details about that Sept. 16 crash on Highway 59, near South Beach Casino at Brokenhead First Nation, are coming from some of the young people in the car.

And on Monday, RCMP announced that a 40-year-old man from Dugald, Man., has been charged with three counts of impaired driving while causing bodily harm.

He was allegedly driving the truck that blew past the red light and plowed into the car, which was carrying six people.

Among those was Mary Ryder, who was celebrating her 13th birthday and is now credited with saving her two-year-old nephew's life.

“As soon as I seen the headlights of the truck I grabbed him right away and I held on tight,” Tyder told CBC News.

Her arms were still wrapped protectively around Kageon Carver even though Ryder was knocked unconscious, said Kageon's dad, Chris Carver.

Ryder has a broken collarbone and moves stiffly in a molded neck brace but Kageon escaped with just a bruise.

Everyone in the car, ranging in age from two to 18, survived but suffered injuries from bruises to concussions and broken teeth and bones.

All have now been released from hospital. The last one, Marissa Carver, 11, was discharged on the weekend and will spent the next little while in a wheelchair after breaking her pelvis.

On Sunday, the community of Brokenhead First Nation held a celebration of life to give thanks that all of the crash victims survived.

They shared food, music and relief.

"Today we could have been having a funeral instead of a feast," said Taylor Kent, 14, who suffered multiple broken bones after being thrown from the car when the door was ripped off.

She wants the province to put up more traffic lights and lower the speed limit through the community. At present, there is only one set of lights, at the turnoff to the casino.

And the speed limit drops to 80 km/h for a short stretch through that section.

“We'll do whatever is possible to make our community safer because I don't want anyone to go through this again because it was hard,” Kent said.

She suffered a broken collar bone, broken ribs, broken teeth and dislocated shoulders. Her lungs partially collapsed and she had to have facial surgery to remove glass from her ears.

She now has a metal plate in her collarbone/shoulder area and nerve damage to her right eye.

Kent and the others were crossing the highway, heading to the community ballfield just a few metres away.

Mary Ryder's father, Gary, said he would like to see the speed limit through the area dropped to about 50 km/hr. It's a busy section, particularly on summer weekends when people pass through on their way to cottage communities such as Grand Beach, Patricia Beach and Victoria Beach.

People usually blast through at 90 or 100km/h, he said, often loaded up for the weekend.

The truck that hit the car was hauling a boat and trailer.

"I can see cars coming at this stoplight here and I can hear the motors revving when they're trying to make that yellow light or they're trying to get through that light and I don't think it's right," Gary Ryder said.

Band officials will meet with the province later this month to discuss the issue of speed limits and lights.

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