Dashcam records Grand Falls-Windsor man's head-on crash

A man from central Newfoundland has a recording of an accident that could have killed him, thanks to a dashboard camera in his pickup.

'That's my third head-on collision,' Shawn Feener tells CBC News

A Grand Falls-Windsor man recorded dash cam video of a close call on the highway of a near head-on collision. 0:25

A man from central Newfoundland has a recording of an accident that could have killed him, thanks to a dashboard camera in his pickup.

Shawn Feener was driving home to Grand Falls-Windsor on Feb. 3 when another vehicle came toward him in his own lane, about five kilometres west of Glenwood. 

Shawn Feener says the only thing he expected to see on the dashcam he got for Christmas was a moose crossing the road. (Katie Breen/CBC)

"I never had a chance to react. I just tried to get away as much as possible, but we hit head on," he told CBC News. "My vehicle spun and flipped a couple of times and I landed in the ditch." 

However, he began to worry when he couldn't get out of the truck: "That was my biggest fear, that it would catch on fire.

That was my biggest fear, that it would catch on fire.- Shawn Feener

"I tried to kick the windshield out but it wouldn't break, so then I reached up and grabbed the handle on the passenger door and I finally pried that open."

Feener said he climbed on the roof of his truck and tried to make his way up the icy embankment to the highway.

"It was a pretty scary scene. I was afraid the vehicle was going to burst into flames. The vehicle was still going on its side," he said. 

Third time unlucky

Feener said the air bags deployed while the truck was rolling, which kept him from getting hurt too badly.

"That's my third head-on collision," he said.

Dashcam records Grand Falls-Windsor man's head-on crash 1:37

"I had a major one a kilometre back the road from where I had this one, about 15 years ago.  We should have been killed instantly … and I had another head-on in Grand Falls. Three of 'em. I was in the right place at the wrong time."

Feener said his sister-in-law gave him the dashcam for Christmas. It's activated by the ignition.

"It's just been in the vehicle, hoping to see a moose cross the road," he said. "That's what I thought it would be used for."

​The other car in the collision was also in the ditch, Feener said, adding he could see smoke coming from it.

Truckers and other drivers stopped to help. 

Broken bottles, smell of alcohol

"They said there was a lot of beer bottles around the vehicle, a lot of broken glass and a strong smell of alcohol," he said.

"I was livid. My life means more to me. I thought, and I still do, it means more than somebody who's going to drink and drive."

He said the other driver and a passenger had cuts and seemed shaken up, but were walking around.

Feener said the other driver told him he was worried because the vehicle was not registered.

The accident is now under investigation by RCMP in Lewisporte, which says it is waiting on toxicology results before deciding whether to lay charges.

The airbags kept Feener from being more seriously hurt, but he says he was worried his truck would catch fire before he got out. (Katie Breen/CBC)

A week later, Feener said he doesn't like to look at his ruined truck. He remembers the song that was playing in the moments leading up to the crash — Me and Mrs. Jones, a '70s tune.

"I'll never listen to it again," he said.

And he doesn't need to watch the tape of the accident to see a replay.

"As soon as you close your eyes, you see the headlight coming at you. There's nothing you can do about it," he said. "I guess you just live and go on. It's pretty scary."

He hopes that his story will have an effect on others: "If I could stop one person from drinking and driving, that would be a plus."

With files from Katie Breen


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