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Two badly hurt while helping stranded driver
A Langley man is fighting for his life and may not walk again, after trying to help a woman whose car had broken down in the middle of the night on Saturday.
While the man was connecting jumper cables to her car, another vehicle slammed into the back of his Mazda, pinning him. The force of the crash at 176 Street and Fraser Highway saw the vehicle end up on top of the Langley man’s vehicle, crushing the roof and seriously injuring a teenage girl and child inside.
Just before 2 a.m., Brandon Gullickson, 23, was driving his Mazda with his girlfriend Cassy Dryden, 18, and his sister Gabby, 12. They came upon a BMW stopped in the curb lane of Fraser Highway, with an older woman inside.
While Gullickson watched others drive around the stranded BMW, he decided to help, said Dryden’s aunt Patsy Davis.
“Brandon got run over by his own vehicle and Cassy and Gabby were seriously hurt, all for helping someone out,” said Davis.
Gullickson, a Langley PetSmart employee, jump started the woman’s BMW. She then asked them to follow her for a bit to make sure it would drive. They did so, but the woman panicked as the lights on her dashboard began to flicker. She pulled to the side and shut the engine off.
Gullickson also pulled over, putting on his four-way flashers, and jump started the vehicle again.
That’s when a Mercedes Benz, driven by a 48-year-old Surrey man, struck Gullickson’s vehicle with such force that the Mercedes landed on top of the Mazda.
The driver stayed at the scene and impairment doesn’t appear to be a factor, said Surrey RCMP.
The traffic criminal investigation team is investigating the crash, but it may take a while to determine if criminal charges will be laid, said police.
“Our hearts go out to these people suffering in hospital. You hate to see good people doing good things getting hurt like this,” said Cpl. Bert Paquet.
According to Dryden’s aunt, Gullickson — who doesn’t have much family — has a broken lower back, a shattered leg and other injuries. He was supposed to have surgery on Tuesday, but needed more blood before he could go in.
“Doctors don’t know if he will walk,” said Davis.
Meanwhile, her niece, Cassy, has a broken neck.
Gabby had pins and plates put into her broken arm and suffered a facial laceration which may leave a permanent scar.
According to the couple’s lawyer, Wes Mussio of Mussio Law Group, Cassy’s short stature is the reason she is still alive.
“The roof crushed them. If she was a tall person she would not be here today,” said Mussio.
The two badly injured victims are in the trauma unit at Royal Columbian Hospital and their road to recovery will likely be a long one.
“They were just trying to help,” said Davis.
The couple live together and, prior to the crash, both were working. But, as with most young people, they don’t have a lot of money.
Their lawyer said ICBC is refusing to pay up-front for any of their medical bills.
“Our firm donated the thousands of dollars it costs for Cassy’s halo brace for her broken neck because ICBC refused to pay,” said Mussio.
The problem is Gullickson only has his learner’s licence. Even though he wasn’t driving at the time of the crash, ICBC says because he didn’t have an adult in the vehicle at the time, they aren’t prepared to pay for anything, including his rehab, according to Mussio.
“My client was just trying to help someone and now ICBC is refusing to help him, based on a technicality that should be waived, given the catastrophic injuries caused.”
Adam Grossman, spokesman for ICBC, said the claim was reported on Monday. He believes it was made by a family member. The Crown corporation was told that Gullickson had been driving his car, and hit a parked car, pushing it into another.
He vigorously denies Mussio's claims that ICBC won't pay for the couple's care. See separate story.
He said an ICBC rehab co-ordinator has been in touch with the hospital, but has not yet been able to get much information.
An ICBC claim manager has also contacted the couple's lawyer but as of Wednesday afternoon had not heard back from him.
Grossman said ICBC wants to do what it can to help the two injured people.
Davis has opened a community fund for the couple at Bank of Montreal in Langley.
Already, Gullickson’s employer PetSmart has donated $1,500.
“It has been very emotional for Cassy and Brandon,” said Davis about the lack of medical coverage.
The account can be found under Cassy Dryden and Brandon Gullickson — account 8964-842. There is also a Facebook page in their names.
The woman in the BMW wasn’t injured in the crash, nor was the driver who caused it.
The driver Gullickson was helping tracked the couple down at RCH and met with them to thank them.