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‘I thought, I’m dead’: Man struck by bus in downtown Vernon

Thomas Yerosic suffered extensive internal bruising from the Jan. 5 incident
Thomas Yerosic is lucky to be alive after he was hit by a BC Transit bus in downtown Vernon Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023. (File photo)

Thomas Yerosic thought he was done for as he stood in the middle of a crosswalk in downtown Vernon with a BC Transit bus “booting it” towards him.

The 55-year-old man was struck by the bus as it was turning left while he was crossing 33rd Street at 31st Avenue on Thursday, Jan. 5.

“It’s the corner of the block, I’m not jaywalking in the middle or anything like that,” he said. “So I look left and right like I always do, cars are slowing down on one side, coming to a stop. I get into the middle of the road and this bus was just booting it, turning left, and that’s when I thought, OK, I’m dead, and it happened so fast.”

Yerosic said he “flew in the air” and wound up on the pavement. An RCMP officer who happened to be in the area was there within seconds, as were “eight to 10 people” who came to his aid bringing him blankets and cushions until an ambulance and fire truck arrived a few minutes later.

Yerosic at first didn’t go to hospital as externally he suffered only cuts and bruises, but later in the day, after not feeling well, he went to hospital where doctors told him he had extensive internal bruising. He was told he would take a month or more to recover.

He was also told that his injuries could leave him more prone to having a second heart attack after he suffered one a few years ago.

He said his phone and watch were destroyed in the crash.

What bothers Yerosic most is the fact that the bus driver didn’t stop to see if he was OK.

“She never came out of the bus to help me to see if I was dead or alive or injured,” he said, adding the bus did stop about a block away from where he was struck.

“She just kept going. Who does that?”

Yerosic stands 6-foot-three-inches, and wonders how the bus driver could have missed seeing him.

The injuries have left the home renovator unable to work, and he’s lost a $25,000 contract because of it.

“I can’t lift a hammer. Getting out of bed I’m screaming, getting into bed I’m screaming,” he said, describing the pain he’s experiencing.

He says ICBC has covered cab rides as he can’t drive, and they’ve said they will cover his lost wages, but he hasn’t heard from them about covering the $25,000 yet.

He’s spoken to multiple BC Transit managers in search of accountability.

“The question is, is she (the bus driver) still driving?” he said.

In an emailed statement, BC Transit confirmed it is aware of the incident.

“Our thoughts are with everyone involved in the incident; the pedestrian, the passengers on board and our transit operator,” the statement reads.

BC Transit says it is supporting a police investigation into the incident, adding that if anyone witnessed it, they should contact the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP.

“Our top priority is safety, and BC Transit is also undertaking an internal investigation,” the statement reads.

The Morning Star has reached out to the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP for comment.

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Brendan Shykora
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Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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