ESTEVAN — It was an experience he never expected to have and would never want to go through again.
Troy LeBlanc of Estevan ended up with a broken and dislocated ankle after a two-vehicle collision Jan. 13 on Highway 47 north of Estevan. After the incident, a Manitoba man ended up facing 12 charges under the Criminal Code.
LeBlanc said he was travelling back to Estevan from a meeting in Indian Head. He was on Highway 47, just about 10 minutes from home and about three kilometres north of the airport road, when all of a sudden he said there was the back end of a truck with no lights on in the middle of the highway.
"By the time I had any chance to react, it was too late," LeBlanc recalled.
LeBlanc suffered serious injuries as a result of the collision. His vehicle immediately generated an emergency call.
Shortly after the collision, LeBlanc said a man appeared by LeBlanc's vehicle. The person managed to open the vehicle door and tried dragging LeBlanc out.
"I don't know where he came out. I just know he tried to rip me out of the car," LeBLanc shared. "He proceeded to go and grab this shovel [from the truck in the initial collision]. And he was on top of the truck swinging his shovel around. There were several vehicles that attempted to stop to help, and he swung a shovel at them. And they took off, right, for reasons."
LeBlanc was able to close and then lock his door, and then contacted emergency services. One van stopped to help, and it ended up in the ditch, becoming the third vehicle involved in the incident. LeBlanc said the man climbed in the passenger window.
"I, unfortunately, had a front-row seat [for seeing] all of it," LaBlanc said.
He couldn't tell how long everything lasted. It was an experience he said no one expects to have, especially in a smaller community.
LeBlanc said there was another person in the truck, but he doesn't know anything more about them. While he was badly injured in an accident, and then attacked by a stranger, he said the main thing he was concerned about was people in the vehicle in front of him as he thought something might have happened to them.
"I was quite concerned for those in the vehicle because I didn't know what happened until it happened," LeBlanc said. "I'm coming up on a vehicle stopped in the middle of the road. I was worried when I heard the emergency services when they first came out, they said they found children's belongings. And I was just devasted because I felt like I may have harmed their child. And then they said there was no children present. I mean, it didn't ease my mind. But it relieved me that there wasn't a kid present."
Once first responders arrived on scene and were able to bring the situation under control, LeBlanc was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital. The following morning, he was transported to Regina for surgery and was released later for recovery.
"It's one day at a time," said LeBlanc on Jan. 17. "I'm recovering at home, just resting and relaxing.
"It was a situation, and I'll get past it. It's just a matter of time."
He added that a sense of humour helps him stay above water.
"[I feel] like I hit a truck," LeBlanc said with a laugh. "That's a sense of humour, but at least it's still there. It's like the doctor came in on Friday for the consultation, and he said, 'Well, you're not going to be running any marathons.' And I looked down at my physique and I said, 'Doc, it's not like I ran them before.' And he burst out laughing, he said, 'At least one thing you still got is your sense of humour.' You know, with all things considered.
"Hopefully, I never have to live through this situation again, and I hope I don't ever have to see this young man again. I hope he gets recovered wherever he may be. But I don't ever want to go back to that situation."
LeBlanc also thanked all first responders for everything they did at the scene that night.
"I want to say a major, major thank you to the Estevan fire department, the Estevan RCMP detachment, the Estevan Police Service and of course, the Estevan Emergency Medical Service EMTs. They did a phenomenal job that night," LeBlanc said. "I am very grateful for the quickness and of course, the duties that they had to perform that night."
According to the initial press release by the RCMP, the initial investigation determined a vehicle was travelling southbound when an adult male passenger attempted to gain control of the vehicle, causing it to stop in the middle of the road, and the second vehicle collided with the first one.
The RCMP said the adult male passenger from the first vehicle assaulted and attempted to rob the driver of the second vehicle. Then he armed himself with a shovel and made several attempts to stop and steal other passing vehicles. He climbed into the passenger window of one of the vehicles, which ended up in the ditch.
When officers arrived on scene and told the man he was under arrest, the man did not comply, rushed at one of the officers and attempted to pull their conducted energy device from their uniform. Another officer deployed their conducted energy device. According to the RCMP, the man continued to resist and attempted to assault the officers, but was arrested a short time later. He was taken to hospital for treatment of serious, non-life-threatening injuries sustained in the collision.
As a result of continued investigation, 19-year-old Justice Guillas from Ste. Marie, Man., was charged with four counts of assault with intent to steal, three counts of assault, one count of resisting arrest, one count of disarming a police officer, two counts of mischief under $5,000 and one count of failing to comply with a release order condition. All charges are under the Criminal Code.
Guillas appeared in Estevan Provincial Court on Jan. 16. He was remanded into custody and is scheduled to make his next court appearance on Jan. 23.
None of the charges have been proven in court.