‘I got to be strong and fight this’: Lower Sackville crash survivor talks recovery

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WATCH: Michael Bowser was just buying milk at the gas station when a truck came barrelling into the Lower Sackville store last week. As Elizabeth McSheffrey reports, Bowser says he has a long road to recovery, but is vowing to be strong – Feb 5, 2019

Michael Bowser’s road to recovery will be long and arduous.

When a high speed chase down the wrong direction of Highway 101 ended at a Lower Sackville service centre on Jan. 31, he found himself pinned under the truck that crashed into it.

READ MORE: Suspect faces slew of charges after machete carjacking leads to police chase, gas station crash

“Physically, I’m beat and I’m really sore, but I know I got to be strong and fight this,” he told Global News Tuesday, after he was discharged from the hospital with serious injuries.

“I know it’s going to be a long recovery, but I’m strong and I’ll do the best that I can do.”

Bowser suffered a fractured foot and ankle, a broken jaw and nose, a fractured cheek bone, and a fractured upper and lower eye socket. His lip was split in half requiring stitches, and he lost several teeth.

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A pickup truck smashed into the Circle K store at Irving Gas in Lower Sackville, NS. on Jan. 31. Contributed

He had been buying milk for his family after a trip to McDonald’s. His three children were in the car in the parking lot with his wife, who watched in horror as the truck crashed into the Circle K store at  Irving gas station on the corner of Lower Sackville Drive and Beaver Bank Road.

“I didn’t think I was going to see him again after that for sure. After seeing that, you just think, how could anyone survive that?” said Erica Davidson, holding Bowser’s hand during an interview at their home in Middle Sackville.

“Just leaving the house now, you don’t know what can happen. The unknown is so scary, so knowing that just getting milk can turn so tragic — it’s scary.”

First responders pulled Bowser from the wreckage, and he recalls asking them to tell his family that he had survived. They decided to share their story with Global News, so that the perpetrator of the act would understand how many lives his decisions had impacted.

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“It could have been so much worse and I just hope [the driver] gets what’s coming to him for sure. I really do,” added Davidson.

WATCH: Truck crashes into Irving gas station

Click to play video: 'Truck crashes into Irving gas station' Truck crashes into Irving gas station
Truck crashes into Irving gas station – Feb 1, 2019

No one has been convicted in the crime spree just yet, but 38-year-old David Raymond Farrell of Windsor, N.S. faces 18 criminal charges related to the crash, including mischief endangering a life, attempted assault with a weapon, dangerous operation of a conveyance, and robbery with violence.

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He was apprehended from the scene that day, after allegedly leading police in a high-speed chase heading east in the westbound lane of Highway 101 towards Lower Sackville, forcing several cars off the road. After crashing the vehicle, he is alleged to have stolen the truck of a bystander while armed with a machete, before exiting the highway and smashing into the Circle K store.

A second individual was seriously hurt in the incident – a young employee named Dylan, who recently underwent surgery for injuries including a broken femur, a cracked spine, a broken ankle and torn liver.

“I’m mad,” said Bowser. “That day, [the suspect’s] decision has affected many lives, our community, Dylan – the worker – his family, my whole family, my kids, Erica, everybody. It affects a lot of people.”

READ MORE: ‘He’s a good kid’: fundraiser started for employee injured when truck crashes into gas station

Fundraisers have been started by community members to assist both survivors with the costs of recovery.

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“It’s overwhelming to hear the comments, and the donations little and small. It’s so generous and we’re so thankful,” said Davidson.

The family now says it’s considering a civil lawsuit against Farrell, the suspect, but has not taken any formal legal action yet.

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