Driver wants others to learn lesson from crash involving cellphone use
It took Nicole Bellefleur six years to finally adopt a daughter from Ethiopia.
On Saturday it all could have ended when she hit a car that pulled out in front of the two of them while the other driver was using a cellphone.
“To come so close to losing her or to both of us getting killed or injured after everything we went through to find each other,” she said.
“I didn’t bring her from Ethiopia to Canada to have something like this happen to her.”
Bellefleur and her two-yearold daughter Ayanna were driving to Brudenell Saturday morning for a family picnic.
Ayanna was safely strapped into the car seat her mother had recently turned facing forward.
The skies and road were both clear.
“It was a gorgeous day in July, which is the best kind of day,” Bellefleur said.
All of a sudden a grey car made a left turn in front of her from the other lane. Bellefleur said she knew in an instant she had no way of avoiding it. “It came out of nowhere.” The next thing Bellefleur knew her car was in the ditch, nose down with the airbags deployed.
When she looked back, Bellefleur saw blood coming from Ayanna’s mouth, but she was relieved to see the girl still buckled into her seat as her weight pressed against the straps.
Once she was out of the car, Bellefleur watched as a young man climbed into the ditch and lifted Ayanna out of the car for her. A quick check found no major injuries. The blood was from Ayanna biting her tongue.
“Relief just washed right over me,” Bellefleur said.
When it was clear the girl was OK, Bellefleur dropped to the ground and held Ayanna until the RCMP arrived.
Although she didn’t see it coming, Bellefleur soon learned why the car pulled in front of her.
She said the man driving the oncoming car came over after the crash to say he had been using his cellphone.
“I remember thinking, ‘I just don’t have time to deal with that information right now’.”
It is something Bellefleur said she has been thinking about since then, as she considers how lucky everyone involved in the crash was. The front of Bellefleur’s car was smashed and the rear passenger door on the other vehicle took the brunt of the damage. Both vehicles were written off. The driver of the grey car didn’t have any serious injuries and Ayanna was OK.
Bellefleur says she had a few minor injuries. She said it felt like someone punched her in the nose, she had bruises from her seatbelt and she took a trip to the hospital to deal with pain in her ankle, which has since improved. Bellefleur realized things could have been much worse.
“Bruises are nothing when you consider the impact that we had,” she said.
Bellefleur said she doesn’t feel any anger toward the other driver, but she feels discouraged knowing people are still out there using their cellphones while driving.
“I’m also feeling motivated, driven and all fired up to get this message out there.”
Bellefleur said she hopes her family’s story will strike a chord.
“I hope that maybe drives some sense into people.”
Nicole Bellefleur was driving with her two-year-old daughter strapped into her car seat when a vehicle came into their lane and collided with their car, sending into the ditch. The other driver told Bellefleur he was on his cellphone.