Calgary teen recovering from critical injuries after being struck by SUV driver in crosswalk
Family asking motorists to look out for pedestrians after Gabby Oliveira's painful ordeal
A Calgary teenager who suffered critical injuries after being hit by an SUV while using a crosswalk is sharing her experience, and asking drivers to pay more attention to pedestrians.
Gabby Oliveira was walking home on April 14 when she crossed the road at a marked crosswalk at 90th Avenue and Bay Ridge Drive S.W.
When she was halfway across, the SUV driver struck her.
Her stepfather, Dez Desjardins, a medically-trained firefighter, was in their nearby 10th-floor apartment when it happened. He saw that someone had been struck and ran down to help.
"I then looked down and that's when I realized it was Gabby ... and I said, 'It's my daughter,'" he said.
"There was a moment of hesitation … it probably was only two seconds, and my mind's eye said, 'Dezy, you got this.'"
He did the initial assessment of his daughter's condition and, when firefighters and an ambulance crew arrived a few minutes later, he briefed them and they took over.
As he and Gabby's mother drove to the hospital, he thought his daughter's injuries were so bad that she might not survive.
She had suffered a lacerated spleen, broken bones, skull and face fractures and three moderate traumatic brain injuries.
But after spending 42 days in hospital and undergoing several surgeries, she is now recovering. A community-driven fundraiser collected $7,300 for Gabby and her family.
She and her family are hoping her experience can serve as a reminder to motorists to slow down and look out for pedestrians.
Since the incident, the city told the family that lights will be installed at the intersection.
"I'm glad that my accident did something for not just me, and made me not take things for granted anymore, but for other people as well," Gabby said.
On the weekend, she celebrated her 16th birthday next to the exact location where she was struck.
And she made a point of crossing at the crosswalk by herself.
"I was always hesitant and kind of scared to cross at that crosswalk because there's so much traffic on 90th," she said.
"It's unnerving. It makes me nervous. It makes me uneasy. But I've got to do it. I can't let it affect me forever."
With files from Terri Trembath