© TC Media photo by Sharon Montgomery-Dupe
Jennifer Burke of Glace Bay, N.S., gets emotional while holding pictures of her children Destiny, 11, and Braydon, 8, who were hit by a vehicle while crossing the street in the Cape Breton community July 4, 2014.
Parents of Nova Scotia children struck while crossing street describe ordeal
GLACE BAY — The father of the two children recovering at the IWK Hospital in Halifax after being struck by a vehicle in Glace Bay Friday night said his son has only been asking for one thing.
“Home" said Tony Angione, 38.
“He said, ‘Dad call a taxi and take me home.'”
Angione said seeing his children Destiny Burke, 11, and Braydon Burke, 8, sprawled out in a horrific scene on the road Friday night was a nightmare.
“Terrifying when I sat there and looked at my young fellow laying on the road with blood beside his head,” Angoine said, his voice cracking with emotion.
“I thought he was gone.
“My daughter was rolled over hollering right next to him.”
Police received a 911 call at about 10 p.m. Friday regarding two children hit while crossing near 696 Main St.
Angione had picked his children up on foot at their grandmother Linda Burke's home on Bluewater Drive Friday night. The family had gone downtown to pick up some chicken and was returning to their home on Duke Street. Angione said his kids were ahead of him.
“They always went ahead of me but said they did the right thing — stopped at the crosswalk, looked both ways, then crossed.”
Angoine said he was two minutes behind them. Coming across the accident was terrifying, he said.
“I really thought my kids were gone.”
He jumped in the ambulance with his son.
“The whole way to the hospital, I kept hollering, kept him awake.”
He said Braydon did talk.
“He said, ‘Dad I’m sorry.’ My son thought it was his fault.”
Angione said his son told him he and his sister were three-quarters across the road when they got hit.
“He asked, ‘Why did someone run us over?'”
Angione, a single father with custody of the children, said his kids were airlifted to the IWK hospital, with Destiny in serious condition and Braydon in critical condition. He said the staff at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital collected money for him to go.
“Everyone in the hospital had a little thing they put together. They paid almost $500 for a cab from Sydney to Halifax for me. It made me feel great. It showed me it wasn’t just me out there who cared.”
He said it was a stressful drive.
Angione said both children had surgery and are doing good now, however it will be a long road for his kids to fully heal.
Destiny is suffering from a broken femur in one leg and a broken bone at the bottom of the other leg, as well as a bruised liver and fractured ribs.
Braydon received a serious head injury, broken bones in his hip, stitches above his eye and a scraped face.
“They had to take steel rods to try and put his hip back together. They said they’ve never seen anyone come back from head injuries that quickly compared to what he was like on the ground."
Jennifer Burke, also of Glace Bay, mother of the two children, said her father came to tell her about the accident and drove her to the scene.
"Braydon's tire wasn't on the bike, his Crocs were still there — must have blown off his feet."
She said police had the scene cordoned off. Braydon had already been transported to hospital, while Destiny was still being attended to by paramedics.
"Police wouldn’t let anyone behind the yellow tape. I was panicking, a real mess.
"I could hear Destiny screaming for her brother."
Jennifer went to the hospital. Doctors had her son in an induced coma while treating him and had Destiny sedated to brace her legs. Jennifer, who is on social assistance and has visiting rights with her children, left for Halifax on Monday. She said it's been hard trying to get there without any money.
"I've been working with social assistance, they’re helping, me. They got me a place to stay at Point Pleasant Lodge for seven days."
Angione said he hasn’t left his children’s side and as of Monday afternoon hadn’t slept in 40 hours.
"I’m staying right in the hospital, right in the room. I told them I’d sleep on the floor, it doesn’t matter.”
He’s hoping to eventually get his kids transferred to the Cape Breton Regional Hospital in the near future.
“I want them back there, I could have all my family members — more support. I have nothing up here.”
Angione said he was receiving $480 a month from social services to help out, but recently landed some work landscaping. He said his emphasis for a long time now will be caring for his children during recovery.
Lynn Gilbert, spokeswoman for the Cape Breton District Health Authority, said the district can't comment on specific patient cases because of patient confidentiality.
"The staff of the regional hospital and EHS paramedics pulled together to help during a difficult time."
Staff Sgt. Max Sehl of the Cape Breton Regional Police Service said the accident remains under investigation. He said whether the kids were in the crosswalk is part of the investigation.
"Until their investigation has been completed, I wouldn't be able to comment whether they were or weren't in the crosswalk," he said.
"Until the investigation’s completed that's when they'll decide on any possible charges — if there will or will not be."