AIRDRIE, Alta. — The family of paralyzed Humboldt Broncos player Ryan Straschnitzki is hoping their run of bad luck ends with three vehicle accidents.
Straschnitzki’s 16-year-old brother, Jett, was driving a car that was hit over the weekend in Airdrie, Alta.
He wasn’t injured but he and his parents were shaken.
Tom Straschnitzki says the teen called late Saturday after the vehicle he had been driving was hit by an alleged impaired driver.
“He had four people he was driving home because he was the designated driver,” he said. The other driver “came out of the corner and just about T-boned him but she corrected and just sideswiped him.
Jett was upset, particularly because of what happened to his older brother, said the father.
Ryan Straschnitzki, 19, was one of 13 junior hockey players injured when the team’s bus collided with a semi truck in rural Saskatchewan last April. Sixteen people on the bus were killed.
“I think that was on his mind and he calmed down and then they just pulled over and called the cops,” said Tom Straschnitzki.
The family had another scare last December when Ryan Straschnitzki was riding in a handi-bus on his way home from a physiotherapy appointment and the vehicle was rear-ended by a truck. The force of the crash was so jarring it threw him from his wheelchair to the floor and triggered flashbacks of the bus accident.
Michelle Straschnitzki, Ryan’s mother, said she was initially kept in the dark about Jett’s crash on Saturday.
“Tom told me the next day and my heart just dropped into my feet and I thought, oh my God — I just don’t know how many more times I can handle getting calls like this,” she said.
“I burst into tears. I mean this was too much.”
“I just want things to go back to normal for a bit.”
Jett was no worse for wear and was busy filling out insurance forms Monday and taking the car for an estimate.
The family has been lobbying for seatbelts on buses, better training for semi-truck drivers and for people to pay attention while on the roads. She said the message doesn’t seem to be getting through.
“I don’t know why. I don’t know what it’s going to take but people have to stop.”