Still shaking several minutes after a crash took place directly outside her rental unit in Brandon, a mother said she couldn’t help but think how close her family had come to tragedy.
A loud crash startled her from her apartment at Lorne Avenue and Sixth Street at approximately noon on Tuesday, prompting her to investigate what had transpired.
Just outside her building, and only a few feet from the room she’d been in with a friend and one of her children, she found a grey Mazda 5 minivan in a haze of dust. Partially suspended as a result of being hung up on a fence, she said its driver’s side wheels were still spinning.
She said she saw a woman jump out of the driver-side door and then ask to go into her apartment, a request the resident denied.
"I’m not going to hide her or anything, because that’s crazy," said the resident, who declined to share her name.
Although this witness saw the aftermath of the crash, another mother witnessed the crash itself, during which she was worried the vehicle was aligned to strike not only her, but also her two children — aged five and four — she was pushing in a stroller.
If she were several steps ahead, they would have been struck by the vehicle — a point she said was still running through her mind.
"My heart was just racing, because I thought it was coming for us," said the mother, who identified herself only as Charmaine.
Pointing across the street at École New Era School, where dozens of children watched emergency personnel tend to the scene, she said the school zone added another degree of danger to what took place.
Charmaine said she saw a man jump out of the car and run away.
Brandon Police Service Sgt. Jeff Hoad confirmed this detail, adding that a 28-year-old man was arrested a half-block away from where the vehicle had come to rest, by an off-duty police officer who happened to be in the area.
Hoad said there was one passenger in the vehicle who was released without charges.
Police were in pursuit of the vehicle at the time of the incident, after finding it proceed the wrong way along 12th Street.
They pursued it for approximately seven blocks before Hoad said its driver attempted a left turn into a back lane, where he lost control and crashed into the fence.
The driver was found to have been wanted on two arrest warrants, including one for possession of property obtained by a crime and one for failure to comply with numerous court orders.
As a result of Tuesday’s allegations, charges of driving while suspended, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and flight from police have been added to the driver’s tally.
» Twitter: @TylerClarkeMB