Students injured in collision
Chaos erupted on the corner of King Street and University Avenue on the evening of Jan. 10 shortly before 5:30 p.m. when a collision involving two cars and six pedestrians occurred.
According to witnesses, the initial collision happened in the middle of the intersection when a black Mazda SUV was making a left turn south onto King from University. As the driver of the Mazda was making his turn, a late model Ford Taurus heading east sped through the light and collided with the SUV.
Though the identities of all parties involved have yet to be released, it has been confirmed that at least three pedestrians and one driver were Laurier students.
Second-year Wilfrid Laurier University student Paula Ghelman was among the pedestrians struck. Ghelman, who appeared slightly shaken up, insisted she was fine, though her legs were somewhat sore.
According to Ghelman, the two cars collided first. The Taurus then hit Ghelman and her two friends — also WLU students — who had been crossing King Street. The Taurus then careened into a pole and hit three more pedestrians on the sidewalk.
Ghelman told The Cord that while she felt fine, her friends found themselves in pain.
“My one friend, her leg’s really, really hurt and the other’s back is sore,” said Ghelman. One of her friends was seen being taken away on a stretcher.
She later disclosed that her two friends had gone home to their parents’ houses for a few days to rest and recover from the shock.
Ghelman said that while she and her friends were not hit too hard, she noticed
the three pedestrians on the sidewalk fall back and hit their heads on the pavement. According to other witnesses, at least one of those pedestrians collided with the small retaining wall outside the Royal Bank of Canada.
Mohamed Maher and Richard Gonzales, two second-year BBA students, were standing near the 7-11 when they heard the sound from the initial collision. “I only turned around when I heard the first noise,” Maher said, “It wasn’t ordinary. It was big.”
Maher then witnessed the Taurus strike at least one pedestrian. “He hit him full-on,” Maher told reporters.
Both felt that the accident could have been easily avoided. “It was just pure negligence,” Gonzales remarked.
Maher and Gonzales both said that the driver of the Taurus was speeding through a yellow light while the SUV was making a left turn.
When reporters arrived on the scene, one of the pedestrians hit on the sidewalk appeared to be bleeding profusely from his face. He was attended to by emergency workers for a short time before being taken away in an ambulance.
A total of five pedestrians were taken away on stretchers, though all appeared conscious and emergency workers were optimistic about their states. It was later reported that the worst injury sustained by any pedestrian was fractured knees.
The driver of the SUV, first-year Laurier student Andrew Sorsdahl, re-affirmed that he had been turning left on a yellow when he was struck by the speeding Taurus.
“I was turning left and I guess I didn’t see a guy coming through the intersection,” Sorsdahl told The Cord at the scene of the accident. “He was going really fast and I just didn’t see him and I just kind of caught him a little bit.”
Sorsdahl was not treated for any injuries, though he was visibly distraught after the encounter. “I’m physically fine, I’m just shaken up,” Sorsdahl said.
The Cord was unable to contact the driver of the Ford Taurus, but witnesses said that he also appeared unharmed.
“The driver’s fine,” Ghelman said. “He walked out and was like, ‘is everybody okay?’”
At the time of the accident, it was not yet confirmed who was at fault in the collision.