Nova Scotia

Cape Breton woman's neck broken in crash caused by fight over breakfast sandwich

A couple’s quarrel over ordering the wrong breakfast sandwich at Tim Hortons led to a car accident that left a Sydney, N.S., woman with a broken neck and a head injury.

Spat over sandwich kills a dog and leaves a woman with a broken neck and head injury

A 25-year-old man pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing bodily harm and leaving the scene of an accident after he was arguing with his girlfriend over a breakfast sandwich order in the car. (Gary Mansfield/CBC)

A couple's argument over a breakfast sandwich changed everything for Angelique Swann.

Swann was walking her five-year-old daughter to a bus stop in Sydney, N.S., in January when she was struck by an out-of-control car that sent her hurtling through the air. 

"I was thrown into the windshield, from there bounced into the house and that's when I landed onto the ground. And I knew it was a serious accident because I couldn't lift my head or move or anything," said Swann.

The impact broke Swann's neck, but as she lay sprawled on the ground, she thought only of trying to reassure her daughter.

"I was just hollering to my daughter from my broken neck perspective telling her, 'Mommy's going to be OK.'" 

Swann said she learned the collision happened after the couple in the car started fighting over ordering the wrong breakfast sandwich at Tim Hortons.

Along with the broken neck, she suffered a brain injury that's affected every aspect of her life.

"I had to deal with personality changes and grieve a loss of an old me and kinda work at accepting this new person," she said.

Swann said she also experiences nausea, dizziness and lack of focus related to her head injury. 

Zachery David MacKenzie, 25, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing bodily harm and leaving the scene of an accident. He was sentenced this week to a five month and three week jail sentence, along with one year of probation and a two-year driving ban.

Angelique Swann says she hasn't been the same since she was hit by a car in January. (CBC)

Swann said she had just left her daughter at the bus stop when the car hit her, narrowly missing her daughter and the other children waiting to go to school.

Her dog, which she was walking at the time, was killed.

She said she barely saw the car coming.

Swann's daughter, Stella, also still suffers the effects of the accident, she said.

"She gets upset because she saw the car coming...but because it all happened so fast she couldn't get me to move out of the way.

"She takes that as something she didn't do. That she could have saved me," said Swann. "She is very traumatized."

But Swann said she holds no resentment toward the couple.  

"I know they didn't intend to hurt me. So they shouldn't carry any burden related to that," she said. "I hope the burden that they carry is something that empowers them and is able to teach them about themselves and allow them to grow from it."

With files from Gary Mansfield

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