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ON THE 11th HOUR: when the war went quiet
Amy LeTournal can't remember exactly what happened after her neighbour's son came running into her kitchen yelling that her 10-year-old daughter had been hit by a car.
She knows she left the kitchen, where she was texting a friend, but can't "remember my feet hitting the floor." All she remembers is she "panicked."
The driver had left the scene and her daughter, Rebeccah (Beckie) MacDonald, was crying as her 12-year-old sister Chloe MacDonald carried her home. Beckie was wearing her helmet when she was hit and had been driving along the side of the road, on the dirt part. Chloe and a couple of other children were with her and say the driver of the car stopped in the road. Beckie started going across the road when the driver suddenly accelerated and hit her while she was crossing.
Not only was LeTournal afraid her cheerleading-loving daughter was seriously hurt, the 36-year-old was also having "flashbacks" of when she was hit by a driver who left the scene when she was eight.
"I still have pain from the hit and run I was a victim of," said LaTournal, sitting in the living room of their Glace Bay home with Beckie by her side and Chloe on the floor in front of her.
When LaTournal was hit, she was leaving a corner store in Sydney which was close to where she lived, walking down the sidewalk when the driver swerved and hit her, then left the scene.
LaTournal's pelvis was broken and doctors warned her she might not be able to have children as an adult. For six months she had to wear a neck brace and she spent two weeks in hospital. The impact to her left side has caused permanent nerve damage causing LaTournal problems with her back, leg and sciatic pain.
"For about two years, I didn't like talking about it," she said. "Then one day, I decided that what doesn't kill me makes me stronger. But I just worry about this, the number of hit and runs happening, with everything so populated and in areas like this, where there are so many children around."
Luckily for Beckie, her injuries were minor (some scrapes and bruises). This is something LaTournal believes is partly due to the helmet Beckie was wearing.
"There have been so many times she's run out, without her helmet and I yelled to her to take it. I see so many kids around, riding bikes without their helmets, and... I tell them they should put them on. You never know what could happen," LaTournal said.
"This could have been much worse if Beckie wasn't wearing her helmet."
Injuries aside, LaTournal said she's seen the effect the accident has had on Beckie who said she was "scared" and doesn't "want to get in a car accident again."
"Beckie feels it was on purpose, that she was hit on purpose because of the way the driver was stopped then started when Beckie was crossing in front of her," explained LaTournal.
"She went from being someone who was, legitimately, wouldn't think twice about doing something that's risky to someone who's being very cautious about everything... For the first few days, she wanted to stay on the couch and sleep, until she got back to her comfort zone."
Cape Breton Regional Police spokesperson Desiree Magnus confirmed they investigated the incident and the driver has been fined.
"As the result of an investigation into a motor vehicle-bicycle collision on Ocean Crest Drive, after which the driver of the vehicle left the scene, Cape Breton Regional Police charged a 34-year-old Glace Bay woman under the Motor Vehicle Act with failing to report an accident resulting in injury to police. She was issued a summary offence ticket on Oct. 3, carrying a fine of $295," she said via email.
"This is a summary offence ticket under the Motor Vehicle Act, punishable by a fine; it is not a charge for a criminal offence under the Criminal Code. If the accused chooses not to pay the fine and/or argue against it, then it would go to court."
Beside the flashbacks of her own hit and run accident, which resulted in the arrest and guilty charge of the driver, LaTournal can't stop thinking of her daughter being left on the road after being hit.
"Why would you run away? Why would you leave my daughter lying on the road like that? Like a piece of garbage," she said. "That's what I felt. That's what she felt."