Renfrew – Two individuals were transported to hospital, one by Ornge Air, after the driver of a Sunshine Coach swerved to avoid an animal on a remote section of Pucker Street near Ashdad in Greater Madawaska Township.
The driver was transported to the Renfrew Victoria Hospital (RVH) by members of the Renfrew County Paramedic Service and the passenger, a male in a wheelchair, was transported to a landing site on Goshen Road and was transferred to the Ornge paramedic team and flown to an Ottawa hospital for a thorough examination.
Norm Dagg, Executive-Director of the Sunshine Coach in Renfrew, said both the driver and client sustained only minor injuries.
“The driver of the van came around a corner on Pucker Street when suddenly an animal ran in front of the bus, so he swerved to avoid it and unfortunately it went into the ditch and suffered a lot of damage,” Mr. Dagg said. “But the good news is that both the driver and the passenger only suffered minor injuries and our driver was assessed at RVH and was discharged the same night.”
He said the passenger, who cannot be identified for reasons of confidentiality, is non-verbal and was in a wheelchair, but secured within the van.
“The paramedics assessed him at the scene and because he is non-verbal, they decided he should have a thorough examination by specialists who deal in this area of expertise so they requested that an Ornge helicopter meet them at an appropriate location on Goshen Road so he could be transported to Ottawa. The paramedic team with Ornge did a great job as they were able to transport him onto the helicopter and then to Ottawa with no problems.”
Members of the Renfrew Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) were on scene to direct traffic and Pucker Street remained open to two-way traffic until the van was removed by Dwaine’s Towing.
Mr. Dagg said the van is currently being assessed by an insurance adjuster and they are waiting to hear back on whether the unit needs to be replaced. The cost for a new, fully equipped van to meet the needs of the clientele who use the service, is about $55,000. Each year the service receives gas tax revenue from some of the municipalities that are within the catchment area and a telethon is held each October which raises about $70,00 per year.
“Our service has a very large catchment and our 15 drivers log more than 550,000 kilometres a year transporting our clients to several locations,” Mr. Dagg said. “When you drive that much, accidents are going to happen and that is why we have insurance. Our drivers take their jobs seriously because they are transporting people, many of whom have a variety of issues. A van can be replaced, but you can’t put a price on or replace a person.”
Bruce McIntyre, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader