Top News

Dennis Byrne on the long road to recovery after pre-Christmas accident

Dennis and Mary Byrne of Stephenville, the husband and wife involved in an accident on Trans-Canada Highway near Pinchgut Lake in December, are seen here with their daughter Trina Byrne on a bench at Stephenville beach. Mary died in the accident and Trina has been with her dad who is still on the mend in St. John’s.
Dennis and Mary Byrne of Stephenville, the husband and wife involved in an accident on Trans-Canada Highway near Pinchgut Lake in December, are seen here with their daughter Trina Byrne on a bench at Stephenville beach. Mary died in the accident and Trina has been with her dad who is still on the mend in St. John’s. - Contributed

Trina Byrne gets emotional when talking about her parent’s accident but takes pride in the fact one of her father’s doctors (Dr. David Pace) refers to her dad Dennis as “miracle man.”

Dennis is the man who suffered multiple injuries in an accident on the Trans-Canada Highway near Pinchgut Lake when his SUV collided with a transport truck.

Tragically, his wife Mary died in the accident.

The Stephenville couple were headed for Corner Brook to spend a night with their son Jim Woodrow and grandson Jack before heading to Florida, where they’ve been spending their winters for some years.

Reflecting on the evening of the accident, Trina chokes up when talking about how she learned of it while home alone in Ontario.

When Jim phoned her after being in contact with the RCMP and told her of her mother’s death, she dropped to the floor.

Byrne said her husband was in Uruguay, where he’s from, visiting with family.

“I was a mess when I went to the airport and couldn’t even talk to airline agents because of a lump in my throat from all the sobbing,” she said.

Meanwhile, her dad got airlifted from Corner Brook to St. John’s, so she and family members including her brother Jim, sister Arlene Mitchelmore and brother-in-law Clayton all drove to St. John’s.

Her brother Dean Byrne flew in to St. John’s from Fort McMurray and husband Alvaro Yaques made his way back from Uruguay.

“When I seen dad, it didn’t even look like him, hooked up to machines for breathing and with so many injuries,” she said.

He ended up being in a coma for over a month, at first induced because doctors didn’t want him to be moving and later without the medicine, what his doctor believed to be due to brain trauma.

During the Christmas period he had four major surgeries, including a metal rod put in his back, a cast on his wrist and brace on his leg, along with a tracheotomy to help with breathing.

Byrne said her dad has all his tubes out now and is talking, moving about and getting up in a wheelchair for about an hour a day.

He’s been accepted into the Miller Rehabilitation Centre and Trina said she’s hoping in the next week or two there will be a place for him.

She said her dad has always been so active, it’s difficult for him and for them to see him like that.

“I think he’ll do really well at the Miller Centre. It’s a long road to recovery but the good thing is that’s it’s a possibility,” Byrne said.

Yaques was on his way Monday to St. John’s to help Dennis celebrate his 80th birthday, which is today.

He can take short five to 10-minute visits from people and has had many visitors from different places across the province, some of them dropping by on their way to Florida.

Dennis Byrne’s injuries:

 

Cut from top of scalp to back of skull (about 24 sutures).

Broken spine.

Broken collar bone.

All ribs on right side broken.

Broken wrist.

Punctured lung.

Left leg ligament damage.

Broken right leg with major ligament damage.

Crushed pelvis.

Right side socket removed from pelvis.

Other cuts and bruises.

Source: Trina Byrne

Support for the Byrnes:

Friend Karen White of Cold Brook – Met Trina at Deer Lake airport.

Friend Clint Russell of Ontario – prepared pamphlets for her mom’s celebration of life.

Tracey Boland – selected flowers for her mom’s celebration of life.

Soccer team in Ontario – set up GoFundMe page.

Georgette Pike – provided Airbnb.

Sullivan Power – provided restaurant getaway.

Cheryl Stagg – advice on her dad’s personal affairs.

Corey Oliver – set up Mary Byrne Memorial Curling Funspiel on Feb. 23.

Recent Stories