Skip to content

Transport truck involved in fatal collision near Thunder Bay 'flew by me,' witness says (4 Photos)

Denis Bresolin and his wife stopped to help the accident victims

THUNDER BAY — A witness to Saturday night's collision that left two people dead and four others injured was concerned that a transport truck involved in the accident was travelling too fast.

"When he flew by me, I said to Norma – my wife – 'how's he going to make that corner?' because even if he tried to, he would have flipped the rig," Denis Bresolin said.

The Thunder Bay couple was en route home from Shebandowan and had just turned off Highway 11-17 eastbound to Highway 102 at Sistonen's Corner.

Just seconds later, an oncoming westbound tractor-trailer went past a stop sign and struck an eastbound pickup truck towing a 5th wheel trailer.

Video of the collision was recorded by a nearby security camera.

"I kept my eyes on the rear-view mirror. He went straight up the hill [on Highway 102] and t-boned the pickup" in the intersection,  Bresolin told TBNewswatch.

The driver of the transport truck and a passenger both died, and four occupants of the pickup were seriously injured.

Bresolin said the OPP asked him if he saw any brake lights on the tractor-trailer as it approached the junction. 

"I said 'nothing.' It went up there like a battering ram."

The collision happened right in front of a Petro-Can cardlock filling station.

When he saw the disaster unfolding, Bresolin said, "It felt like it was time-lapse. [Then] there was a bunch of smoke and dust, and I told my wife to call  911 right away."

He immediately turned his vehicle around to see what they could do to help.

What they saw at the accident site "was like a bomb went off," spurring both of them into action.

"We just happened to be the first on the scene. You have to do what you have to do," Bresolin said.

With diesel fuel leaking nearby, Bresolin approached the overturned pickup truck, kneeled on shattered glass, and initially pulled a young boy to safety through a broken window.

Next, he was able to extricate a little girl whose leg had been stuck, and wrapped her in a blanket to comfort her.

Bresolin then turned his attention to pulling out two adults whom he was told are the children's grandparents.

The woman had a badly injured leg, so he did what he could to stop the bleeding.

"Everyone was in shock," he said. "From my First Aid at work, I kept talking to everybody. I don't know how I remembered everything. Because of COVID I haven't upgraded for two years...I kept doing what I had to do, and to keep everybody awake."

By this point other people were stopping to help, including other truckers, and Bresolin was on the phone with 911 dispatch, providing the ages of the injured people and what he knew about their injuries.

The cab of the transport truck was so badly mangled and full of sharp pieces of metal, he said, there was no way to help the two men inside until emergency responders arrived.

Bresolin said he and his wife – who also put her training as a registered nursing assistant to use at the scene – never hesitated to do whatever they could for the survivors of the accident.

It was only later that they realized how close they had come to being casualties themselves.

"I said to my wife that it could have been us. And if that was us, I would wish that people helped us like we helped. We got there, and we did our best."

Bresolin expressed his thanks to others who also provided assistance.

The OPP's Technical Traffic Collision investigation section is still looking into the circumstances of the collision.

Gary Rinne

About the Author: Gary Rinne

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Gary started part-time at Tbnewswatch in 2016 after retiring from the CBC
Read more


push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks