CORNWALL, Ontario – A Cornwall man who witnessed a gruesome, near-fatal accident Monday west of the city is still grappling with what he saw.
Danny Brunet was travelling on County Road 2 on Monday when he witnessed a horrific accident that sent a South Stormont man to hospital with a laundry list of injuries that police have deemed life-threatening.
Brunet said the injured man, Alan Robinson of South Stormont, was so badly hurt that the images will remain with him forever.
“He had a massive gash, maybe 20 inches long and an inch wide, on his back,” said Brunet. “The blood was just gushing out of it.”
Brunet was the only person at the scene of a collision between a pick-up truck and the rear-end of a massive trailer that was carrying an excavator.
The trailer carrying the excavator was parked on the side of the highway when it was struck by a westbound pick-up driven by an elderly man, said police.
Brunet said it’s his belief Robinson was working to secure the excavator to the massive trailer when the collision took place. Robinson, it is believed, never saw the accident coming.
The impact of the collision was so powerful that Robinson sustained massive injuries, including shattered bones, in addition to the gash and other cuts and scrapes.
Cynthia MacAllister-Lajoie said she is the daughter of the elderly man driving the pick-up truck that struck the trailer, and added her father was left injured as well.
She said in addition to broken ribs he also has bruising and abrasions.
“Both men’s lives will never be the same,” she said, adding her 81-year-old father’s drivers licence has been taken. “They took away his license for life, even though he was not charged.”
Police have not been able to confirm whether or not any charges will be laid in the accident, and it’s unclear how far into the road the trailer may have been, though photos from the scene suggest it was very close to the white line.
It could take some time before police experts release their findings on the cause of the accident.
MacAllister-Lajoie said her father has always been safe behind the wheel, to the point where his children have chided him for how slow he drives.
“He wants to know (what happened) for his own peace of mind,” she said.
Brunet said he’ll never forget the chaos of the event that took place near Milles Roches Road. The tragedy hits home for him even more because he operates his own excavation business and can often be found securing trailers.
“That could have been me,” he said. “He was just lying there between the truck and the trailer.
“I was kind of freaking out a little bit. I asked him if he was ok. I was just trying to talk to him, to comfort him.”
Brunet said Robinson was barely conscious.
“I couldn’t really hear what he was saying.”
Before long, perhaps only a minute or two, an off-duty paramedic had stopped at the scene to help. In the meantime Brunet had called police and an ambulance via his cellphone.
Brunet estimates it took several minutes for an ambulance to arrive.
Robinson’s nephew, John Primeau, said his uncle is showing some slight improvement after several touch-and-go hours. He is being treated in an Ottawa hospital.
“As soon as I started talking to him he opened his eyes,” said Primeau. “You could tell he was understanding us.”
Primeau said his uncle is in for a long recovery, including multiple surgeries to repair his shattered body. The list of injuries also includes trauma to his legs, knees and shoulders, not to mention “road rash” over much of his body, said Primeau.
Brunet said he’s hoping for the best.
“I’ve kind of been in a daze,” he said.
Police are still investigating the accident that took place at about 10:30 a.m. Monday.