After more than six weeks in hospital, one of the survivors of a deadly Alberta car crash is speaking for the first time about coming home to his family and the long road to recovery.
Dorian Gladue was heading to work in a passenger van with eight of his colleagues on Jan. 10. They were working on a solar panel farm northeast of Taber, Alta.
As they travelled down Highway 36, their van collided head-on with a truck. Four people were killed and Gladue was critically injured.
“I was sitting in the very back, on the driver’s side,” he said, “and that whole side of the van got ripped open and I got thrown from the van. I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt.”
The 23-year-old was flown to hospital in Lethbridge first, and then on to Calgary, with a lengthy list of injuries.
The father of three doesn’t remember the crash. But he does recall waking up in the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary, surrounded by concerned family members.
“I was more scared for my kids, you know what I mean? That was my biggest worry,” Gladue said.
He underwent numerous surgeries that had to be done in waves because doctors feared he wouldn’t survive. A month and a half later, Gladue was finally able to go home.
“It’s nice to be back at home and be able to wake up with my kids and stuff like that,” he said.
“I’m very lucky.”
While his physical injuries are healing with time, his mental anguish is harder to overcome.
“Knowing what happened in the accident itself, that’s probably one of the hardest parts… I guess they call it survivor’s guilt,” Gladue explained.
He said he’s scared to be on the road, even with his wife driving.
“I had anxiety about it before even getting in the vehicle. Just thinking about it. My heart would race and I’d get really sweaty and stuff.”
The crash has brought him closer to one of his co-workers, who ended up underneath the bus in the crash. Gladue said he suffered a brain injury.
“I’m just super happy that I made it and my friends made it. My heart goes out to the families of the people who didn’t make it. It was a tragic accident.”
The Gladues set up a GoFundMe page in order to raise money to help with the financial burden resulting from the crash.