Edmonton

B.C. man hit by U-Haul van in Edmonton attack 'lucky to be alive'

A 22-year-old man hit by the cube van involved in Saturday's attack says he's recovering from bruises and a damaged knee.

'It's something that's never going to leave my head,' Paul Biegel says

Paul Biegel, left, shown here with his brother Trevor Biegel, spent a night in hospital after being hit by the cube van involved in Saturday's attack on pedestrians in downtown Edmonton. (Supplied/Paul Biegel)

Paul Biegel, 22, doesn't remember being hit by a U-Haul cube van that was swerving through downtown Edmonton late Saturday.

"Out of nowhere, I woke up on the ground," Biegel told CBC News Tuesday. "I'm pretty lucky to be alive."

The van struck Biegel from behind, flinging him over a concrete barrier outside The Pint on 109th Street near Jasper Avenue.

"There was no time to defend myself," Biegel said.

"I looked up and I see him drive away with cops in pursuit and he hit that other young fellow that was also injured. I watched that happen right in front of me."

The other man was knocked unconscious, Biegel said.

A nursing student working at The Pint, rushed to help the other man, waiting with him until an ambulance arrived.

"We had lots of support from the crowd," Biegel said. "Everyone just kind of surrounded us, did first aid and helped us through.

"I'm very thankful for how fast and how well I was taken care of."

Police Saturday blocked an alley outside The Pint, where a cube van struck Paul Biegel and another man. (Zoe Todd/CBC)

The van hit four people in downtown Edmonton Saturday before it was toppled by police vehicles near 107th Street, one block south of Jasper Avenue.

Suspect Abdulahi Hasan Sharif, 30, was arrested around midnight.

The four victims suffered injuries ranging from "broken arms to brain bleeds," Edmonton police Chief Rod Knecht said Sunday.

All four are recovering, family and friends confirmed to CBC News.

'Things could have been a lot worse'

Biegel travelled to Edmonton from Dawson Creek, B.C., to visit family and to watch the Edmonton Eskimos play at Commonwealth Stadium.

During the game, a man driving a white Chevrolet Malibu crashed through traffic-control barriers outside the stadium, striking an officer.

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, reportedly flew 4.5 metres through the air before hitting the ground. He was then stabbed in the face and hands.

The man who stabbed Chernyk fled on foot. 

WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT: Police release video of suspect car ramming police officer

4 years ago
1:39
Police released video of Edmonton police Const. Michael Chernyk being hit by a car Saturday night. 1:39

Biegel recalled passing the scene as he left the stadium, on his way to The Pint.

"We tried to stay out of the way," Biegel said. "It was congested, there was a crime scene and we heard there was a person that got away.

"But you wouldn't have known what was going to happen next."

Officers pulled over a U-Haul van at a police checkstop, but the driver sped off towards downtown Edmonton where he struck several pedestrians, including Biegel.

Biegel spent the night in hospital, where he learned a tendon in his knee was torn. He was released, on crutches, Sunday morning.

"It's something that's never going to leave my head," he said. 

"I'm doing pretty well, I guess. Staying positive is about all I can do, really. I've got lots of support.

"In a weird way I was pretty lucky. Things could have been a lot worse."

Sharif faces five counts of attempted murder in the attack on Chernyk and the rampage through downtown.

He has not been charged with terrorism-related offences, though RCMP say they have not ruled out laying such charges.

The cube van that struck Paul Biegel, sending him to hospital, where he spent the night before being released on crutches. (Zoe Todd/CBC)

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