Vehicle rollover ejections 'preventable', RNC says after Shea Heights accident

The RNC says sadly the two passengers who were thrown from cars in two separate roll overs this year, who suffered serious injuries, weren't wearing seat belts.

Police say man thrown from Corvette was not wearing a seatbelt

Police confirmed Thursday that the man ejected from a Corvette that rolled over on Blackhead Road Wednesday was not wearing a seatbelt. (Ted Dillon/CBC)

Police in St. John's say the injuries to a man thrown from a Corvette that crashed on the road to Cape Spear Wednesday are unfortunate and preventable.

"From a policing perspective when you speak about these situations you don't want to try to victim blame. We're trying to get a message out. Seat belts save lives," said Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Superintendent Joe Boland. 

The RNC confirms the 27-year-old man who was ejected from the Corvette during the rollover on Blackhead Road was not belted in.

"Our investigation has revealed that the person was not wearing a seat belt," Sgt. Paul Didham told CBC News.  

He is in hospital, in serious condition, along with the 22-year-old man who was driving the car that ended up on its roof.

The debris trail from the accident was 850 metres — about a kilometre. 

The accident on Shea Heights left a trail of debris about one kilometre long. (Ted Dillon/CBC)
Wednesday's crash was the second single vehicle accident in a couple of months that resulted in serious injuries to an ejected passenger.

On March 20, on a snowy Monday afternoon, at the Pitts Memorial/TCH cloverleaf, a red car went off one of the ramps and rolled several times.

A female passenger in the Honda Civic was thrown from the vehicle. Morgan Pardy, 21, is now paralyzed from the chest down, according to a family friend.

A GoFundMe campaign that started to help her family has reached over 29 thousand dollars.

Morgan Pardy, 21, was paralyzed following the accident on Pitts Memorial Drive on March 20. (Cal Tobin/CBC; Morgan Pardy/Facebook)

Boland said some people think they're okay without the restraints when, in reality, they're not.

"You need to wear them because in some cases those crashes are not your fault. And you can certainly help yourself by putting on a seatbelt and give yourself a much better chance of not getting killed or injured."

Vital to buckle up

Police officers who respond to and investigate these crashes say wearing a seat belt is the best protection inside a vehicle.

"With all the safety improvements made to vehicles over the years, the additions to make them safer, none of them work without the use of seat belts. None of them take the place of seat belts," said Didham, who's with the RNC's traffic division in St. John's.

"We've seen a high compliance with seat belt legislation. However the affect on people who don't wear seat belts, when they're involved in collision can be devastating, as we saw yesterday." 

RNC Superintendent Joe Boland said, "It's unfortunate that we're back here today and we're talking about another incident that involved a person not wearing a seat belt." (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

Didham added not wearing a seat belt is dangerous at any speed.

"When you're dealing with highway speeds or any type of speed, your body is being tossed around inside of a vehicle at 50, 60, 100 kilometres per hour. Those effects on your body, from striking inside the car, being tossed around there, is devastating," he said.

Police haven't said if speed was a contributing factor the the Corvette rollover. (Ted Dillon/CBC)

Supt. Joe Boland started his career as an officer soon after seatbelt laws were implemented in this province.

"We changed a culture and attitudes surrounding seat belts, and I can tell you, when you look back over the last 30 years how many people have benefitted from that, how many lives have been saved," he said.