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‘Civilians are hit!’: Edmonton pedestrians struck by U-Haul van testify at Sharif trial

WATCH ABOVE: The video recorded from the Edmonton police Air 1 helicopter on Sept. 30, 2017, of the moments before and after the takedown of Abdulahi Hasan Sharif was shown to the jury at his trial Wednesday.

Paul Biegel was about to light a cigarette moments before he found himself lying on the ground with a broken vehicle mirror beside him.

Biegel was in an alley outside a downtown Edmonton pub with a friend when he was hit from behind by a speeding U-Haul van, he told a jury Wednesday at the trial of Abdulahi Hasan Sharif.

Sharif, 32, has pleaded not guilty to 11 charges, including five counts of attempted murder, in relation to the Sept. 30, 2017, attack.

He is accused of first running down and stabbing a police officer who was on traffic duty outside an Edmonton Eskimos football game before striking four pedestrians with a cube van a few hours later.

READ MORE: New Edmonton officer recalls responding to U-Haul chase

Biegel told court on Day 6 of the trial that after being hit, he fell over a concrete barrier and landed on his stomach. He then looked up to see the van continue down the lane with police cruisers in pursuit. It hit another man.

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“I had seen him there with other people and the van had gone over where he was standing,” Biegel said. “After the van had passed, I had seen him lying down.

“It looked like a police chase you would see on TV.”

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Jack Zubick told court that he was outside the same bar, The Pint, when he was hit.

But he remembers little of what happened.

“I have brief memory of maybe turning towards lights. But for the most part I’m not a 100 per cent sure if that’s something I maybe think I saw,” Zubick said.

“I have brief memory of maybe the inside of an ambulance… and then just coming to in the hospital with my mom and my girlfriend there.”

Edmonton pedestrians hit by van testify at Sharif trial
Edmonton pedestrians hit by van testify at Sharif trial

Zubick said he remembers waking up later in hospital on a spine board wearing a cervical collar.

“I was in quite a bit of pain. I know at one point they gave me morphine.”

READ MORE: ‘I saw him get hit and fly’: Sharif trial hears from couple who witnessed Edmonton officer attacked

Zubick said he suffered a head and knee injury. He was released from hospital the next evening feeling stiff and sore with a bad headache.

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He received treatment for his knee for about four months, he said, and had headaches for about a year.

Zubick, a student, also said he had to take a reduced class schedule and was unable to work for a month and a half. He noticed that he became more impulsive and irritable, and felt more stress and anxiety than usual.

Beigel said he had to use crutches for about three months for his knee injury.

“I wasn’t able to play hockey and I was lucky to be able to go back to work on modified duties,” said Biegel, who works as a gas plant operator.

He said the psychological effects were the hardest part of his recovery, and he saw a counsellor for depression and anxiety.

“I kind of went into an anti-social nature there for a while, that’s not really myself,” he said.

“I still have anxiety, something I didn’t feel like I had before.”

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READ MORE: Edmonton police officer who was stabbed testifies on Day 2 of Sharif trial

On Wednesday, aerial footage captured by the Edmonton police helicopter was also presented in court.

“Control, we just had civilians hit 107 and Jasper,” an officer is heard saying in the video. (which can be viewed in the player at the top of this story.)

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“We need some cars to stop there right now. Civilians are hit! 107th and Jasper. Guys we need to take that vehicle right now!”

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Air 2 was called in to help police track the speeding U-Haul van, which eventually crashed on its side on 100 Avenue, near 107 Street.

A U-Haul van on its side on 100 Avenue, near 107 Street. October 1, 2017.
A U-Haul van on its side on 100 Avenue, near 107 Street. October 1, 2017. Julia Wong/ Global News

Sharif, who is not represented by a lawyer, has declined to ask questions of any witnesses during the trial, which is expected to last until early November.

READ MORE: Accused ‘wanted to kill people’ the night of Edmonton vehicle attacks: Crown