'I don’t want to die': Passenger in fatal Saskatoon crash remembers moment before impact
SASKATOON -- On Jan. 15, Nicole and Hilary Gamble’s pickup truck was travelling north on Circle Drive near the exit to Attridge Drive and Preston Drive when they say a southbound vehicle lost control.
“I noticed a car lose control and then it looked like it caught control again and then all of a sudden it was in the ditch coming across the road coming toward us,” Hilary Gamble told CTV News.
Gamble says he and his wife travel to Saskatoon a few times a week from their home on the Beardy’s Okemasis First Nation and are familiar with the roads in the city.
He says he tried to avoid the oncoming vehicle by swerving but realized in the split second that it happened he couldn’t so he turned the wheel to the right so that the car would hit his side, protecting his wife in the passenger seat.
Nicole Gamble says as the car was coming towards them, it felt like slow motion, but then the impact happened fast.
“I heard him yell. I was texting my kids to let them know, we were coming home and when I looked up I closed my eyes. My thought right away was I don’t want to die and then a stranger was coming to pull me out of the vehicle,” Nicole Gamble said.
It’s those strangers that they are grateful for. Passersby who stopped to help immediately following the crash, pulling her out and then prying open the driver’s side door which was wedged shut because of the impact and pulling Hilary out to safety.
Gamble had to have surgery to repair her shattered wrist and says she suffered intense bruising from the seatbelt which left black marks all across her body. Hilary’s shoulder was injured from the force of the impact on his seatbelt, but says he’s lucky to have escaped with minimal injury.
A 24-year-old woman in the car died in the crash. Nicole Gamble said their heart goes out her family. While in the hospital, Gamble says she had time to think about the difference protective barriers would have made.
“Just putting one barrier in one spot, to save one life, then they’d accomplish something. It would be worth it. We are really thankful to be here today,” she says.
Ward 3 City Coun. David Kirton is taking the first steps to get barriers installed on Monday, asking City Council to listen to his appeal to get safety barriers installed on that stretch of Circle Drive.
He’s asking for council support for a detailed collision report for that area. One of the options he’s proposing is a high-tension cable.
“One thing I’ve learned over the last week is that you just don’t willy nilly put a barrier in and I get that there has to be some traffic engineering involvement in this or we’ll be creating more problems than we fix,” Kirton told CTV News.
City of Saskatoon administration told CTV in an email that $2.5 million has been approved this year for installation of barrier installation and improvements on Circle Drive between the Circle Drive North Bridge and College Drive, and on Idylwyld Drive between the Senator Sid Buckwold Bridge and the Ruth Street overpass.
“The eight locations are different. From an engineering perspective, through reviews completed twice since 2016, a continuous median barrier was not warranted. However, installation of high-tension cable barrier (between College and Attridge Drives) is an option that could be researched further.”
The Gambles say they haven’t travelled anywhere since that fateful day and don’t anticipate driving on that stretch of road anytime soon.
The couple is prepared to avoid Circle Drive and take other roads even if it adds extra time to their trip.